Democrats react to Brunswick sheriff changing parties

Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram
Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Heather Setzler - bio|email

BRUNSWICK CO., NC (WECT) - The head of the Democratic Party in Brunswick County has strong words after finding out Sheriff John Ingram switched to the Republican Party.

Donna Silva says she was stunned when she heard about Sheriff Ingram's announcement Wednesday.

"I was totally blind sided by it," said Silva. "And not only that, I remember when he stood in front of the Democratic Executive Committee.  He said, 'I was born a Democrat, and I will die being a Democrat.'"

The Democratic Party appointed Ingram to sheriff last year to fill the remaining term of then Sheriff Ron Hewett.  Hewett was removed from office and later convicted of obstruction of justice.

Ingram released a statement Wednesday saying "though my career in law enforcement as a Democrat has brought me to this place in time, it is my humble choice to live free as my conservative principles and discipline desire."

"I don't know what conservative principles he has, but they certainly didn't prevent him from accepting the appointment from the Democratic Party," said Silva.

Democratic candidates have until February to file if they decide to run for sheriff. If no one comes forward, the party will have to pick a nominee.

"We'd like to not have a primary fight if we can do that," said Silva. "But we're looking to see who's going to step forward and be a good candidate."

Silva says she's not sure if Ingram will get the Republican Party nomination, but he did allude to that in his statement, saying "I will seek the nomination of this party for the office of Sheriff."

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