Jailer switches political party, endorses Republicans for county judge, jailer

Nelson County Jailer John “Buck” Snellen complete his political party change to Republican on his voter registration card Thursday afternoon at the Nelson County Clerk’s office.

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Thursday, July 21, 2022 — Nelson County Jailer John “Buck” Snellen, a lifelong Democrat, changed his party registration to Republican Thursday afternoon at the Nelson County Clerk’s office.

“I think the Republican party works more for people in general,” he said.

Snellen is also endorsing two Republicans in the November general election — Tim Hutchins for Nelson County judge executive, and Justin Hall to replace him as Nelson County jailer.

Snellen said Hall will do a great job as jailer, and he’s currently a part-time employee. While Snellen spent much of his time as jailer on repairs and maintenance of the jail, the work is incomplete.

Republican candidate for judge executive Tim Hutchins with Nelson County Jailer John “Buck” Snellen.

Snellen was accompanied by Hutchins, who praised his decision to change parties as an elected official.

“Buck and I go way back,” Hutchins said. “Buck’s like a lot of us here in Nelson County, we were Democrats back in the day because you couldn’t really participate in a (local) primary election as a Republican.”

“A lot of people have seen the light and understand we need more conservative, business-minded people in office.”

Hutchins predicted that more Democrats will become Republicans ahead of the November election.

Snellen said that once his term as jailer is finished, he has no plans to seek another elected office.

“It’s time to put this horse out to pasture and enjoy my life a little bit,” he said.


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