Long-time Republican party member Johnny Smith shocked Barrow County Republican Party (BCRP) members last week by qualifying for Chief Magistrate as a Democrat. Ken Young, Barrow County Republican Party chairman, issued a press release to address the confusion caused by Smith’s switch of allegiances.

According to the release, Smith was member of the Barrow County Republican Party from 2002-2004 and 2007-2008. Smith is also a card-carrying member of the Republican National Party.

Young stated rumors alleging that the Barrow GOP forced Smith out of the local party were untrue.

According to party records, Smith renewed his BCRP membership on April 30. He qualified as a Democrat on May 1.

“It is hard for me to understand it, even when explained,” Young wrote.

Smith formally resigned from the Barrow GOP effective May 1.

The Barrow County Republican Party does not allow membership for anyone who is an official candidate of another political Party.

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