One of the sheriffs, Sheriff Chip Schuler of Smyth County, left the Democrat party after being elected in 2015, The Center Square reports. Shuler won his 2015 election with around 59% of the vote and won his reelection with around 60% of the vote. Smyth County is a mostly Republican district with 3/4ths of votes in the 2020 election going towards former President Donald Trump.
Shuler, who announced his intentions to switch parties last week, had his application unanimously approved by the local Republican party.
“I am changing to the Republican Party because of the relentless attack on law enforcement by Democrats in Richmond and Washington,” said Schuler. “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 (law enforcement) 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.”
Shuler’s decision comes after two other Virginian sheriffs made the same decision last year for similar reasons.
Buchanan County Sheriff John McClanahan said that his decision to switch parties was because of the “hit” law enforcement was receiving in the US.
“Many who know me know that my world revolves around Religion, Family, and Occupation in that order,” said McClanahan last year. “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,” continued McClanahan. “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 decided to switch parties over the summer while Antifa was terrorizing cities in the US.
“After much prayer, thought and deliberation, I am giving my resignation for the Tazewell County Democratic Committee,” said Hieatt. “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 (Tazewell) Board of Supervisors, spoke out against,” continued Hieatt. “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?” said Hieatt. “Laws need to make it harder on criminals and not on victims.”
Hieatt said that he could “no longer affiliate myself with a party that on state and national levels has become increasingly anti-law enforcement,” adding that the Democrat Party had drastically changed.