Calloway County Judge Executive Larry Elkins announced Thursday that he's decided to switch political parties and is now registered as a Republican. Thursday morning, Elkins was registered as an independent.
Elkins first held the office in 1999 as a Democrat. He served in that party for 14 years. Before he was elected to a new term in 2013, Elkins switched to an independent. His decision to become a Republican, he says, doesn’t mean he’s changed, but that the Democratic Party has.
Elkins also said he has always been conservative. He says as an Independent he has no voice in the Republican primary or presidential caucus. “If I wait until after Dec. 31, then you're finished as far as voting in the primaries are participating in the caucus,” he said.
He said there is urgency to change in order to cast a vote for Republican Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who is seeking Rep. Ed Whitfield’s spot in the House.
Calloway County Clerk Antonia Dunn Faulkner said she isn’t surprised. She says through her three years as clerk, she’s seen a shift in the conservative direction. “I think things are changing. Times are changing —kind of a circle of life thing, maybe,” Faulkner said.
Comer thinks this will bring the number of Democratic voters down significantly. Right now, there are more than 16,000 registered Democrats in Calloway County and 8,000 Republicans. “This county clerk and this courthouse is going to be very busy over the next two weeks with people coming in here to switch parties," he said.
Not everyone is celebrating the news.
“I was disappointed when he switched to an independent," County Democratic Party Chairman David Ramey says. "If you look at the past couple of years, Larry’s been acting like a Republican anyway." Ramey added that the county will continue with a local majority of elected Democrats.
We’re told that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Judge Elkins to thank him for his service and welcome him to the Republican Party.
Anyone planning on switching parties will need to have registration cards turned in or post marked by Dec. 31 to vote in the Republican primary.
For a link to the form you can mail in, click here.
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