GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Gaston County's Sheriff, Alan Cloninger announced his plans to retire after a new sheriff is sworn into office in December 2022.
Cloninger released this information in a statement on Wednesday detailing that he will also change his party affiliation from Democrat to an unaffiliated voter and "will vote independent from this day forward," Cloninger said.
The statement also makes claims that leaders from the Gaston County Democratic Party were actively recruiting an opponent to run against Cloninger in the March 2022 primary.
"I have been informed and disappointed to know that the leaders within the present Gaston County Democratic party are actively recruiting an opponent for me in the March 2022 primary," said Cloninger.
Read the full statement from Sheriff Alan Cloninger below:
First and foremost, I want every citizen of Gaston County to know it has been my upmost honor to serve you for over sixteen years as your Sheriff. Gaston County is my home, and you are my friends. I have taken great pride by providing you public safety and help every day.
Throughout my life, I have been a conservative democrat as my father and family have always been. I know there are many conservative and moderate democrats in Gaston County who have supported me over the years. So, I want to thank you for your loyalty.
It saddens me that the same Democrat party that I grew up in, no longer exists.
Some of the new Democrats in Washington attack and degrade all Law Enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to protect the people and in return, are given no respect. This is wrong and unjustified.
I have been informed and disappointed to know that the leaders within the present Gaston County Democratic party are actively recruiting an opponent for me in the March 2022 primary.
The present Democratic party has left me and there is no home for a conservative democrat in today’s Democratic party.
Therefore, I will be changing my party affiliation from Democrat to an unaffiliated voter and will vote independent from this day forward.
Secondly, I want to say that I have been serving the people of Gaston County since I was fifteen years old starting as an attendant at Gaston Memorial Hospital, Charter member of Dallas Rescue Squad, Dallas Volunteer Fire Department, Dallas Police Department, Gaston County Police Department, Assistant District Attorney in Gaston County, Jail Administrator at Gaston County Sheriff’s Office and as your Sheriff.
About three months ago, I announced that I would be seeking re-election next year.
As we all know life can change in a very short time.
My brother’s health has deteriorated and the needs of my family and grandchildren have changed. My family has asked that I retire as your Sheriff. This has been one of the hardest decisions of my life. I have devoted the majority of my life to serving all of the citizens of Gaston County, but the time has come that I must put my family first.
Today, I am announcing that I will be retiring at the end of this term as your Sheriff. I will serve out the remainder of my term with honor, concern, and integrity as I always have. It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your Sheriff with your support and confidence in me. I will continue to execute my duties until the time that a new Sheriff is sworn into office in December 2022.
I would like to thank everyone for your support of the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office and of the men and women who serve you daily. As always, please call me at 704-913-0340 if I can ever be of help to you.
Your humble servant,
WCNC Charlotte reached out to the Gaston County Democratic party to receive a statement on the claims mention in the above statement.
The Gaston Democratic Party stated, "As far as the claims of the county executive board looking for a “replacement” for the Sheriff, this is a fabricated statement. We do not have a committee currently recruiting new candidates as we are focused on the 2021 municipality elections."
Below is the comment statement from the Gaston County Democratic Party:
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