SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — In an increasing politically polarized world, some Bay Area politicians are giving up their party affiliations and choosing to be Independents.

Among those are veteran San Jose Council members Johnny Khamis and Dev Davis, both life-long Republicans.

“I’d rather leave a party with my principles intact than remain in a party that doesn’t support one of my core beliefs,” Khamis said of his decision to switch.

“I was affecting no change by being a moderate in the party,” Davis added. “When they started separating children from their parents at the Mexican border – that’s when I knew it was time to leave the party.”

While it is exceedingly rare for elected officials to make the switch, the choice is growing in popularity with voters. According to the California Secretary of State’s office, 4.8 million voters — more than 25 percent — are registering as Independents who for the first time have edged out Republicans in California.

Davis and Khamis are not alone. Former Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner — a Republican — and San Mateo Sheriff Carlos Bolands — a Democrat — have also joined the ranks of the Independents.

“I’d like both parties to think about what’s best for the people they represent which is all people,” Bolands said.

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