The two-term Democratic sheriff of Vanderburgh County, Indiana, announced his switch to the Republican Party on Thursday, in a speech in which he attacked Democratic policies and lamented the deteriorating state of the country.
According to The Associated Press, Sheriff David Wedding, who was first elected as sheriff in 2014, noted the lack of national support for police among the Democratic Party among several other reasons.
“I’m tired of seeing fires set in our streets,” said Wedding. “I’m tired of people defying God, our church, our police, our government and everything we stand for.”
During an interview with 44 News Evansville, a local news station, Wedding said he was “shocked, watching things in Portland and Seattle, where night after night they’re out rioting. They’re not protesting, they’re rioting, and they’re putting police officers’ lives in danger every single night, and as a sheriff, I couldn’t imagine putting my deputies in that situation.”
The Vanderburgh County Democratic Party accused Wedding, who is prohibited from seeking a third term as sheriff by law, of engaging in “political opportunism.”
“While we are disappointed with Dave Wedding’s decision to leave the Democratic party, we are more disappointed with the reasoning he provided the community for his choice. We are aware that there are many conversations regarding police reform on a national level. However, Sheriff Wedding knows that the Democratic majorities on the County Commissioners and City Council have been strongly and consistently supportive of local law enforcement. In contrast, he has always pointed out the Republican controlled Vanderburgh County Council and Indiana State Legislature were responsible for the creation of budgetary restraints that made his job more difficult. His move to the Republican party after benefiting from years of Democratic support make his political opportunism all the more distasteful,” said the Democratic Party in a statement.
According to The Evansville Courier & Press, Wedding is supporting President Donald Trump in the November election but hasn’t turned his back on some local Democratic officials, who he believes do not support the direction of the national party.
“We have some strong Democrats in Evansville and Vanderburgh County. I’ve supported them in the past and won’t turn my back on them in the future. There’s certain ones that have earned my trust and respect, and I won’t desert them because I’ve turned Republican. We do have some really good Democrat leaders in Vanderburgh County,” said Wedding.
Local Democratic City Councilwoman Missy Mosby also attended the party-switch announcement event out of support for Wedding, telling the Courier & Press that she doesn’t plan to switch parties, but the two have been friends for years.
“I decided to come because I fully support Dave Wedding,” said Mosby. “I think he’s a great man who does great things for Evansville. I completely understand his reasoning because he’s in public safety.”