Criminal JusticeLocal NewsKarnes County Sheriff Leaves Democrats to Join Republican Party

Texas Republicans have gained an additional local office as one county sheriff left the Democratic Party.
December 21, 2022
Although the midterm elections have been over since early November, the Republican Party of Texas is still picking up “wins” in local public office.

Karnes County Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva, presently in his third term in office, announced in a press release his decision to switch from the Democratic Party to the GOP.

“I look forward to continuing the strong tradition of excellent law enforcement in Karnes County, which requires us to come together for a common cause and seek out leaders of integrity and merit,” Villanueva said.

Republican Party of Texas State Chairman Matt Rinaldi also issued a statement on the move, pointing to other high-profile Democrats who have switched parties under his term.

“I am proud to welcome Sheriff Villanueva to the Republican Party,” Rinaldi wrote. “As Democrats increasingly abandon and cripple law enforcement, it is no wonder more people are turning to the Republican party.”

The Texan Tumbler

One of the highest-profile switches came late last year when State Rep. Ryan Guillen (R-Rio Grande City) officially made the switch from Democrat to Republican in his South Texas house district.

But Villanueva isn’t alone among county officials making the switch to the GOP recently.

Terrell County Judge Dale Carruthers, whose county occupies a significant section of the southern border with Mexico, switched parties to become a Republican earlier this year, gaining the endorsement of Gov. Greg Abbott for her re-election bid in November.

Presidio County Judge Cinderella Guevara also switched parties to the GOP, but with Presidio County favoring Democrats by 71% according to The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index, Guevara lost her re-election bid to Democratic challenger Jose Portillo Jr. this year.


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Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy. He graduated from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.