December 20, 2004


Three Shelby officials leave Democratic Party for GOP: Officials join GOP, say values differed (Elisabeth J. Beardsley, 12/18/04, The Courier-Journal)

Three elected officials in the traditional Democratic stronghold of Shelby County defected yesterday to the Republican Party, the same day the local Democratic chairman resigned.

The three officials cited varying reasons for their switch, including conflicts with national Democrats on such issues as abortion, guns and taxes, and said the GOP better represents their moral and economic values.

"It certainly doesn't reflect my personal beliefs," Shelby County Attorney Chuck Hickman said of the Democratic Party, which he had been a member of for 24 years. He was joined by Simpsonville City Commissioner Cary Vowels and Shelby County Coroner Tommy Sampson.

Four deputy coroners and Sampson's son, an emergency medical technician, also joined the GOP ranks during a ceremony on the Shelby County Courthouse steps.

In what he said was a coincidence, Shelby County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Gary Walls submitted his resignation yesterday, citing dissatisfaction with the national party's drift to the left.

Kerry Morgan, interim state Democratic Party chairwoman, said the officials who switched parties acted out of political opportunism.

Good point.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2004 4:42 PM

The Democratic Party of Terry McAuliffe's home stomping grounds complaining about 'opportunism?' How rich is that?

Posted by: Bart at December 20, 2004 4:57 PM

The Dem's stranglehold on KY politics during the last decades of the 20th Century was so complete that one's only chance to cast a meaningful vote for a state-wide office meant one had to register Democratic and vote in the democratic primaries. The stain of having to be a registered democrat while living in that one party state for several years is still painful to look at.

Kentucky's transformation into a two party state began slowly several years ago. The trickle is now becoming a flood. REJOICE!

Posted by: Dave W. at December 20, 2004 5:23 PM

I don't know that one could say it's exactly "opportunism" really. Local politics thru-out the South anyway is still largely a Democratic Party affair. So this is somewhat of a gamble for local officials.

"I told her this morning, and she threw something at me," Vowels said."

Posted by: h-man at December 20, 2004 5:50 PM

--Kerry Morgan, interim state Democratic Party chairwoman, said the officials who switched parties acted out of political opportunism. -

And tailoring the party's views on abortion is not????

Or is that just bowing to reality.

Posted by: Sandy P at December 20, 2004 7:16 PM