It’s Official: Commissioner Ashley Bell of Hall County Switches to the Republican Party

Today marks another historic day in Georgia politics.  Shortly, the Georgia Republican Party will be introducing the latest party switch: Commissioner Ashley Bell of Hall County.  Commissioner Bell will be the first elected African-American to change from the Democratic Party to Republican Party in the state of Georgia.  He was also the former national president of the College Democrats, a member of the Executive Committee for the Democratic National Committee, and a superdelegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

This is a tremendous shift in politics, but it’s not all that surprising.  Commissioner Bell is a young conservative (30 years old) and could no longer find a home in the Democratic Party.  I know a lot of people around me used to vote straight-ticket Democrat, but now they are more inclined to vote Republican.  The number of conservative Democrats are dwindling at a very quick pace.

Commissioner Bell, I’d like to welcome you to our team.  I look forward to working with you in the future.

Read the full press release below the fold:

Atlanta—Ashley Bell, former National President for the College Democrats of America, 2004 superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention and Hall County Commissioner, will join the Republican Party tomorrow.

Bell is the first African-American elected official to switch parties.

“I’m joining the Republican Party because I’m a conservative and simply feel more at home as a Republican,” said Commissioner Bell. “I have worked to make government more efficient and less intrusive in citizens’ lives and plan to continue those efforts as a Republican.”

Bell will make the announcement in a press conference on Thursday from the Georgia Republican Party with Georgia Republican Party Chairman Sue Everhart, state Representative Melvin Everson, Georgia Black Republican Council Chairman Michael McNeely and Rufus Montgomery.

“We are excited that Commissioner Bell will help lead the way for many other conservative African-Americans to leave the Democratic Party and join the Republican Party. We welcome all conservatives with open arms,” said GAGOP Chairman Sue Everhart.

“Party affiliation should not be an issue of race or geography. Mr. Bell shares the Republican Party’s conservative values and belief in common sense solutions to the problems facing Georgia,” Everhart said. “I am pleased to welcome such a strong and visionary leader.”


  1. Tiberius says:

    Ow. tough district. What is the Hispanic % in this district? And he is due to be re-elected in a Prez year?

    I imagine his colleagues are willing to dismember this distirct as much as possible (per Voting Rights) and take some these Dem neighborhoods?

  2. DoubleDawg3 says:

    This guy is very sharp and honestly, I do think he has Moderate / Conservative values. I’m sure he’s liberal on some issues – but a lot of Republicans have fallen into that category to, especially in their spending habits over the past decade. I know several Republican / Conservative people in Gainesville & Hall County that really like this guy, so I

    I often wondered what he would do — there’s simply not a lot of room for advancement as a young, black Democrat in Hall County / North GA, no matter how intelligent or worthy. BUT, as a sharp, young, black Republican – sky’s the limit.

    I hope Ashley can help the GOP reach out to other young minorities.

  3. drjay says:

    “Bell is the first African-American elected official to switch parties.”

    i know it brings up some unpleasantness since he went to prison an all–but wasn’t clarence thomas’ boyhood friend former st senator roy allen the first AA elected oficial to switch parties back in the mid 90’s?

  4. Jason says:

    Hope the GOP in the mountains don’t mind the dirty laundry that’s bound to come out about him in a contested primary.

    But this switch is all about Ashley looking out for Ashley. Most Democrats couldn’t stand him because his personal ambition drove everything. It was like a stench that followed him everywhere.

    • drjay says:

      clearly someone must have liked him well enough manage election to both party and gov’t positions along the way with all that “stench” following him…

    • Nathan says:

      But this switch is all about Ashley looking out for Ashley. Most Democrats couldn’t stand him because his personal ambition drove everything.

      ….because we know that Democratic candidates are supposed to have no personal ambition that drives their political motives. Yeah, right.

      • Jason says:

        Of course all politicians have personal ambition. You couldn’t do the crap you have to do to get elected if that weren’t true. But there is a point where the ambition pouring out of you reeks, and people get the very real impression that you’d cut your own mother’s throat if it meant putting you ahead. That’s the kind of ambition Ashley Bell has.

  5. Jason says:

    Ashley’s very smart… he’s a good power politics player. Just because someone gets elected to stuff doesn’t mean they are well liked 🙂

    • Kellie says:

      I don’t know… Ashley is very well liked around this town. He is a genuinely nice guy and it comes across when he talks to people.

      • Andre says:


        What you’re seeing is lingering resentment from a certain faction of the Young Democrats of Georgia due to an incident that happened years ago.

        As I’ve said so many times in the past few week, they’ve remember everything and learned nothing.

        • Toxic Avenger says:

          Jesus Christ, Andre, give it a rest. Yes, Young Democrats remember an incident in which he called the entire organization “racist” and then attempted to literally buy an election, kept doing that for multiple years, and finally gave it a rest. It’s not resentment, because he failed badly. The “good guys” won.

          Read the other thread for some of his other lovely antics. It all amounts to a guy who would do anything if it were politically expedient. I’m glad he’s gone because now he’s your problem. Really, I don’t care about him. I don’t. He was a political opportunist for us, and he will be one for you.

          Now, are you done speaking for other people, or are you just going to become a Republican?

          • Three Jack says:

            i guess he took your advice ta — ajc story announcing the bell switch also included news that andre is joining the gop with this reaction from…Eric Gray, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia, was more succinct: “Andre Walker switching parties is news?”

    • Toxic Avenger says:

      Perhaps I post here anonymously because PP readers always enjoy vilifying the open liberal. If you looked hard enough, you’d know who I was.

      Now back to my life, stopping idiot Republicans from destroying everything.

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