Are you Republican or Democrat? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Are you Republican or Democrat?

Professor Roger Marietta Professor Roger Marietta
Lee County Sheriff Harold Breeden Lee County Sheriff Harold Breeden
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January 16, 2004

Albany-- Another south Georgia Democrat switches parties. It happens in bigger cities, but numerous party-switching is fairly new to south Georgia.

In Lee County, nearly a half dozen leaders have switched parties, including the sheriff. The popularity of President Bush and the increasing number of Republican voters are apparently behind all the party jumping.

Liz Schillo is trying to urged Darton College students to join Georgia Association of College Republicans. She says, "We have 51 members, hopefully we'll recruit some more during this semester."

If the students go along with the trend, it shouldn't be hard. South Georgia has seen a lot of Democrats change into Republicans.

Schillo's advisor Political Science Associate Professor Roger Marietta says it's normal. Marietta says, "You can't really legislate or control party affiliation, so it's just a natural phenomena."

Lee County Sheriff Harold Breeden is now a Republican. Last week, Lee County Commissioner Jackie Sizemore, Tax Commissioner Betty Johnson and Coroner Ronald Rowe decided an elephant over a donkey. Marietta adds, "The constituencies change and I think that's what you're seeing in Lee County where basically the constituents are more Republican."

On Thursday night in Atlanta, a dozen Democratic state legislators endorsed President Bush. Marietta admits it's unusual. He says, "I think a popular president encourages party switching."

Schillo would like college students to decide parties by their likes and dislikes when it comes to issues and values.

Party switching has stirred up controversy for Georgia Senator Rooney Bowen. His Democrat supporters are angry because of their fund-raising efforts after he switched to Republican.

posted at 4:35PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com

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