Saturday, January 27, 2001
Edmondson switches to GOP
Kenton attorney calls Dems too liberal
By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COVINGTON Saying the Democratic Party has become too liberal for his personal and political beliefs, Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson switched parties Friday and became a Republican.
The move sets up what is likely to be a politically bloody 2002 Republican primary between Mr. Edmondson and Independence lawyer Eric Deters.
Mr. Edmondson, 54, who was elected in 1993, announced the move at his private Covington law office surrounded by family, friends and several Republican Party elected officials and activists.
This is something I have considered for a long time, Mr. Edmondson said. For many years now the national policy-makers of the Democratic Party have become more and more liberal.
The last year's presidential race certainly brought that into focus for me on a number of issues abortion, gun laws, Social Security, welfare reform, he said. I simply find myself accepting and believing what the Republican Party stands for.
Kenton County Judge-ex ecutive Dick Murgatroyd and County Commissioners Adam Koenig and Barb Black all Republicans attended Mr. Edmondson's announcement.
It makes me proud that our county attorney, who is really the people's attorney, has demonstrated by his actions that he is a man of conviction who is unwilling to accept money from and swear his allegiance to a political party knowing in his heart he does not support the party's agenda, Mr. Murgatroyd said.
Rick Robinson, who ran Republican Kevin Murphy's campaign against Mr. Edmondson in 1993, also attended.
Garry's done a good job, said Mr. Robinson, also a former 4th District GOP chairman. That's why I'm here and that's why I'm supporting him.
Kenton County Republican Chairman Greg Shumate also welcomed Mr. Edmondson into the party.
It has always been our goal to offer quality candi dates and encourage individuals to follow their hearts in choosing the Republican Party, he said in a statement.
Mr. Deters, the former head of the Kenton County GOP who announced his campaign more than a year ago, said he is not concerned with Mr. Edmondson's switch.
I'm prepared to run my race against Garry on the issues and his record, whether he's a Republican or a Democrat, he said.
Mr. Edmondson's switch comes as the Kenton County Democrats are trying to re-establish a party that lost most courthouse, Statehouse and federal elections to the GOP during the 1990s.
Garry knows he couldn't win in a Democratic primary. That's why he left, said Fort Mitchell Democrat Nathan Smith, a party strategist.
The Democratic Party now holds just three major courthouse offices: Kenton Circuit Clerk Mary Ann Woltenberg, County Clerk Bill Aylor and Property Value Administrator Mark Vogt.
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