New Albany Mayor Tim Kent, who has always run as a Democrat, has said he is changing to the Republican Party.
The switch appears to be due more to a changing national and local political climate than a shift in Kent’s views.
“I’m gonna be the same either way,” he said. “But that national stuff has drifted down to here,” he continued, referring to the more extreme polarization between some party views.
Other local candidates have either changed from Democratic to Republican affiliation, or at least have been considering it. This past week Ward Two Alderman Johnny Anderson said he is changing parties after long consideration, adding the Republican Party more accurately reflects his views.
“My preference would be for non-partisan elections,” Kent said. “It would save money on elections.”
Also, there has been growing dissatisfaction with the closed primary election system because it forces voters to choose between candidates in different parties they might equally want to support. Choosing a candidate in one party over the other can also have the effect of preventing a desirable candidate from making it to the general election.
Kent mentioned the growing split between political parties nationally as a factor in his decision as well.
“I can’t put my name on a thing when they support hatred and killing unborn children,” he said.
“I have been thinking about it about three years,” he said. “I thought everything would get straightened out. But it’s time for me to take a stand.”
“Our job is to represent what the people want and I know the majority of people in this town have Republican beliefs,” he said.
“But I won’t be any different,” he said.
The next city elections will be in 2021 and Kent has indicated he will run for re-election as mayor then.
More on switching parties: http://www.nemiss.news/notches-on-the-pistol/mayor, Republican, switch, Tim Kent