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Cotton Cole said he always felt out of place during Democratic events.
The county councilman contemplated changing his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican for more than a year and said recent events encouraged him to make the change.
Cole, who’s serving his first term on council, announced his party change Friday morning at the Lancaster County Republican Party’s headquarters on Main Street in Lancaster.
Karen Floyd, the state’s Republican Party chairwoman, and Glenn McCall, the state’s representative for the Republican National Committee, were among those in attendance.
Cole, who won the District 3 County Council seat in 2008, said he filed to run as a Democrat then because the incumbent, Wesley Grier, was a Republican.
Cole said his preference, though, would have been to run as an independent.
“I always voted split ticket,” he said.
Since then, Cole said he has been turned off by President Barack Obama’s policies, such as the health-care measure, and U.S. Rep. John Spratt’s campaign tactics against Republican opponent Mick Mulvaney.
“I’m more in line with the Republicans than the Democrats,” Cole said.
He accused Democrats of wasteful spending.
“Somebody’s got to stop the spending,” he said. “There’s no way we can pay for what’s being voted on.”
Floyd said the Republican Party welcomes Cole with open arms.
“Cotton Cole’s decision to join the party – understanding that we are the party of limited government, lower taxes and freedom,” Floyd said. “We believe our personal rights are being encroached upon by the politics in Washington.”
McCall thinks Cole’s decision will impact the upcoming election, local races in particular.
“It will cause voters to really think about who represents them and the issues,” he said. “It could benefit (state House District 44 candidate) Rob McCoy. We’re excited as a party.”
Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152