The Democrats suffered a huge loss in Virginia when three Southwest Virginia sheriffs elected as Democrats officially switched to become Republicans in response to misguided response to law enforcement by Democrats in DC and Richmond.
Sheriff Chip Shuler of Smyth County, who was elected as a Democrat in 2015, was the most recent sheriff to switch to the Republican Party. Shuler said law enforcement has been under relentless attacks from Democrats in Washington and Richmond and he simply had enough. In 2015 Shuler was elected with slightly more than 59% of the vote. He was re-elected in 2019 with slightly more than 60% of the vote.
“I am changing to the Republican Party because of the relentless attack on law enforcement by Democrats in Richmond and Washington,” Shuler said. “My deputies work hard to serve and protect the citizens of Smyth County. As sheriff, it has been difficult to watch my deputies try to move forward during this unprecedented assault on our profession. We remain an honorable profession and should not be judged by the bad acts of a few. I have always been a conservative throughout my law enforcement career of 38 years.
Buchanan County Sheriff John McClanahan also switched parties saying at the time:
“Many who know me know that my world revolves around Religion, Family, and Occupation in that order. My career is a large part of my life and I consider it to be my calling. I have said it many times but the Democratic Party that we know today is no longer the party my grandfather was involved in.
“The ideologies of the party have shifted away from those traditional values. Currently the Democratic Party is going against everything I stand for, pushing for defunding the police and the taking away of safeguards that have been put in place for us.
“I can no longer be associated with the National Democratic Party due to them introducing bills that negatively affect my community and my livelihood.
“Democratic leaders across the country have been ones that are pushing for bills that negatively affect Law Enforcement as well as other values I stand for. I have many friends within our local Democratic Party and hold no negative feelings toward them.”
Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt also dumped the Dems for the greener pastures of the GOP saying:
“After much prayer, thought and deliberation, I am giving my resignation for the Tazewell County Democratic Committee.
“I appreciate the friendships and support I have had through the years by being affiliated with this party; however, I feel the Democratic Party’s interests, especially on the state and national levels, have continued to rapidly go in the opposite direction of the beliefs that my wife and I share.”
“The day after the election we were hit with several Democratic proposed laws to infringe on our gun rights that I, along with all our Board of Supervisors, spoke out against.
“Along with several of my deputies, I attended a mass protest in Richmond because I believe in the right to bear arms and the right to be able to defend ourselves. I have now witnessed over the last several months multiple Democratic-backed state laws that have passed that I feel are hindering law enforcement officers across our state, and will truly be detrimental to the victims of crimes that we are sworn to protect.”
“Why are we being easy on criminals, not the victims? Laws need to make it harder on criminals and not on victims, he said before adding that he can “no longer affiliate myself with a party that on state and national levels has become increasingly anti-law enforcement.”
“I am changing to the Republican Party because of the relentless attack on law enforcement by Democrats in Richmond and Washington,” Sheriff Chip Shuler.— Tim Hugo (@TimHugo) June 1, 2021
Welcome to the GOP!https://t.co/KUYUdHVLzr
Smyth County Sheriff Chip Shuler leaves Democratic Party, joins Republican Party https://t.co/pnKc7jtO9J— SeeJaneVote (@janiedelaney) May 30, 2021