The Democratic Party in Chattooga County has been waiting since spring to tell Chattooga County Sole Commissioner Jason Winters that he is no longer a Democrat. From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:
Shiflett said campaigning for “the opposition” breaks county Democratic Party bylaws, and the executive board for the party voted Winters out for any future elections.
Shiflett said the board will vote at its next meeting whether to expel him from the Democratic Party.
“If you violate the rules where you work to an egregious degree, you’re going to get fired,” Shiflett said. “[Winters] is the highest-ranking Democratic elected official in this county. When they come and qualify to run with us and sign the papers, they are signifying that they are a Democrat, and Democrats do not do what he did.”
The big kerfuffle transpired when photos of Commissioner Winters posting signs for Senator Jeff Mullis (R-GA-53) and Governor Nathan Deal came to light during the spring.
I know that there are folks who want to ban “RINOs” from the Republican Party from ever running from elected office, and I suppose similar calls from the opposing side for “DINOs” with the CCDP trying to ban Commissioner Winters. Although, I don’t believe either party can really prevent a person from running if they say they are qualified, sign an affidavit to that effect, and pony up the money for qualifying fees.
Chattooga County is the sole Democrat stronghold in northern Georgia, but they routinely vote Republican in national and statewide election contests, but also elect Democrats at the local level. I have been told by plenty of folks that consider themselves conservative and vote Republican that they pull a Democrat ballot because “they won’t be able to elect anyone since everyone around here votes Democrat”…or something.
I’m sure there are a lot of folks who vote Democrat who are also very conservative. The county Democratic Party may have done themselves a disservice by ceremonially booting out one of the top Democrats in their county. I know that Republicans are exploring the possibility of Commissioner Winters becoming one of the first Republican elected officials in Chattooga County and leading the way for other “Democratic” county officials in Chattooga to switch parties.
If he does, I suppose we should send Chairman Tim Shiflett a thank you card.