Sheriff joins growing list of Pennsylvania officials leaving Democratic Party, blames it on ‘the Socialist agenda’

Sheriff joins growing list of Pennsylvania officials leaving
Democratic Party, blames it on ‘the Socialist agenda’ 1

UNIONTOWN, PA – Fayette County Sheriff James Custer has joined the growing exodus of Pennsylvania sheriffs fleeing the Democratic Party and switching affiliations to the Republican Party.

Sheriff Custer told Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt about the switch from the Democratic Party during an interview on Monday:

“It is the shift in ideals of the current Democratic National Party on the national level, the Socialist agenda, and this is something that I have been considering for several months.”

The sheriff, who was elected in November of 2015 as a Democrat, defeating Republican James Bear Baranowski by garnishing 52% of the votes, said that the pandemic restrictions played a role in his decision:

“It (the decision) probably started back when the pandemic started. The mandates coming down by the Democratic governors of which we have one here in Pennsylvania.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) has placed numerous and ever-changing pandemic restrictions on residents.

Presently in Pennsylvania, all in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry, including, but not limited to, bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, social clubs, and private catered events is prohibited.

Additionally, Indoor gatherings and events of more than ten persons are prohibited. Outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 persons are also prohibited.

Sheriff Custer said that he believes the mandates are unconstitutional and that it is his duty as Sheriff to uphold and defend the United States Constitution.

During the interview, he also pointed to the “Defund the Police” movement championed by many Democrats as a factor contributing to his decision to change party affiliations:

“Starting back with the George Floyd incident, all the civil unrest, and the calls for ‘abolish the police’ (and) ‘defund the police,’ that was all factored into my decision.

“This is not what I signed up for.”

The Sheriff said that the calls to defund and abolish the police are one of the reasons he joined 40 Pennsylvania sheriffs to endorse President Trump “as our law-and-order president” in the presidential election.

Sheriff Custer was joined in the party switch by Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bower. Both officials announced their decision to switch to the Republican Party during a September press conference.

During the press conference, both officials said their beliefs aligned more with Republican ideologies, especially regarding abortion and the support of the military and law enforcement.

District Attorney Bower pointed to anti-police brutality protests and calls to defund the police as the catalyst for his change to the Republican Party:

“It is totally, totally contrary to what we believe and our values.”

Bower said the protests were unjustified because often police use restraint when deadly force could be justified. He used the example of a Uniontown City police officer who used a taser to stop a man who attacked him with a knife:

“You want to talk about restraint? Many officers use restraint when it comes to this.”

He continued that a person holding a knife can cross 20 feet in two seconds, whereas it takes two to three seconds for an officer holding a gun to make the decision to shoot. He said local law enforcement is comprised of “outstanding people.”

Custer said that he believes the Democratic Party is moving toward socialism and communism, and that his beliefs align better with the Republican Party.

President Trump mentioned Sheriff Custer and another Pennsylvania sheriff who changed parties to Republican, during a campaign rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, on September 22, 2020:

“Wow. Thank you. It’s Fayette County Sheriff James Custer and Forest County Sheriff Bob Wolfgang. Where’s Bob? Stand up, fellows. Thank you.

“Were you long time Democrats? How the hell did that happen? Well, this is somewhat of a phenomenon. This is somewhat…This is crazy what’s going on now.

“It can be stopped so easily, and you guys know exactly what I’m talking about. Thank you very much. It’s an honor to have you in the party. Thank you. That’s great.”

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 Reacting to the President’s call-out to him, Sheriff Custer said at the time:

“I couldn’t have scripted any better for the President of the United States to announce my joining of the Republican Party.”

Forest County Sheriff Bob Wolfgang switched from Democrat to Republican in September, saying that his beliefs aligned more closely with the Republican Party.

Joining the Pennsylvania exodus of sheriffs, Westmoreland County Sheriff James Albert switched from Democrat to Republican in November, saying he felt disenfranchised by the Democratic Party:

“It was a really difficult decision, and I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I feel I stand for the ideals of the Republican Party platform more than the Democrats today.

“I’ve been a lifelong Democrat, but a conservative Democrat at that. I’m pro-life, a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, a lifetime member of the NRA (National Rifle Association), and, today, I feel my ideals are closer to the Republican Party than Democrats.”

Sheriff Albert said that he believes the Republican Party stands for “unwavering support for our law enforcement and first responders.”

He mentioned the murder of David Doran, a 77-year-old retired police captain, a black man, who was shot by a pawn shop looter during the St. Louis protests as a reason for his decision:

These outrageous, lawless acts have been met with silence, acquiescence, and, in some instances, outright support from the local, state, and national leadership of the Democratic Party.

He concluded by saying that the Democratic Party caused his switch:

“As a lifelong public servant and member of law enforcement, I have not left the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party has left me.”

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