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Sheriff, circuit clerk in Washington County switch to the GOP

Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer and Circuit Clerk Valerie Knapp joined the GOP.

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The Alabama Republican Party announced that two elected officials in rural Washington County have joined the Republican Party. The Washington County Republican Party welcomed the four new Republican elected officials at its monthly meeting on Dec. 1.

Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer and Circuit Clerk Valerie Knapp appeared before the GOP County Committee and requested to switch from the Democratic to the Republican Party. The Executive Committee approved both requests unanimously.

The Washington County Republican Party also picked up two new offices on Election Day when Washington County School Board Superintendent-elect Lisa Connell and District 3 County Commissioner William “Termite” Beasley were both elected.

Washington County Republican Party Chair Willie Long released a statement after the meeting.

“The Washington County GOP is very excited to announce that Sheriff Richard Stringer and Circuit Clerk Valerie Knapp have officially switched from the Democrat to the Republican Party,” Long said. “Richard and Valerie’s values are in line with the values of the Republican Party. Sheriff Stringer and Circuit Clerk Knapp are doing a fine job for the citizens of Washington County. We are honored that they have chosen to join us.”

“The GOP is also glad to welcome and congratulate Washington County School Board Superintendent-Elect Lisa Connell,” Long said. “We believe she is the first female and Republican to be elected to this position.”

“County Commissioner District 3 William ‘Termite’ Beasley is the first Republican to ever be elected to this position,” Long said. “The future is bright for the Washington County GOP and we look forward to continued growth.”

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Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan offered her congratulations on the victories won by the Washington County GOP.

“We are delighted to welcome these four new Republican officeholders to our GOP family,” Lathan said. “It is clear that Washington County residents reject the radical policies of the national and state Democrat Party which do not mirror Alabama values. We invite citizens who support limited government, lower taxes, the Second Amendment and the sanctity of life to join us. They will find a home in the Alabama Republican Party.”

Alabama Republicans won supermajorities in both chambers of the Alabama Legislature in 2010 after 135 years of Democratic Party control as well as every statewide office on the ballot that year. Since then, there has been a transformation in counties across Alabama as Republicans increasingly have taken over county courthouses and commissions either directly through the election process or by local officials switching parties.

The Republicans grew their supermajorities in the Legislature in both 2014 and 2018. The Republicans also took the lone remaining statewide office held by a Democrat in November when they unseated incumbent U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.

Jones’s defeat of former Chief Justice Roy Moore in a Senate special election in 2017 was the only Republican loss of a statewide race since 2008. More than two-thirds of all partisan elected offices in Alabama are held by Republicans.

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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