By Chad Nesbitt
Leicester – Last week the Leader broke the story on Facebook that Buncombe County Sheriff and longtime Democrat Van Duncan was leaving the party to become an unaffiliated voter.
“I don’t identify with the Democrat Party anymore,” said Duncan, who is not running again for the office, in an exclusive interview with the Leader. Duncan said he was upset with the rhetoric of former United States Attorney General Eric Holder and believes the party has become socialist.
Leicester Democrats reacted to the news at a meet-and-greet for Democratic candidates held at the Leicester Community Center last Friday (October 12) evening. Approximately 20 people were in attendance.
When told about Sheriff Duncan leaving the Democratic Party Rev. Lisa Beth White of Black Mountain said, “That seems strange at this late date. There must be some motivation for that. When told that Van Duncan said the party had turned socialist White said, “That term gets used in a way that doesn’t mean what it actually means.”
Bruce Snelson is a long-time Democrat in the Leicester area. Mr. Snelson recently erected a huge billboard sign on his property along Leicester Highway that says, “Save America – Vote Democrat” and says he was disappointed that Van Duncan left the Democratic Party. Asked if Snelson thought the Democratic Party had become socialist Bruce Snelson said, “I don’t agree with that but everyone is entitled to their opinion.”
When Democratic candidate for Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller was told of Van Duncan leaving the Party he looked stunned, saying he had “no comment.” When told the reason Van Duncan left the Democratic Party was because the party had become socialist and that Duncan disagreed with what former US Attorney General Eric Holder had said about police officers Quentin Miller did not know who Eric Holder was until Holder was identified as the former attorney general.