LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said he is considering running for re-election as a Democrat.

The Republican was Gwinnett County’s top vote-getter in 2016. He has been the county’s district attorney since 1992.

“I'm not much of a politician, so I have people I rely on, my friends and family,” Porter told 11Alive News. “So I rely on them to give me political advice, so I have some time to make those decisions.”  

Porter said he wants to win one more term to the DA’s office in 2020 before he retires. But Porter is running in a county where politics and demographics have tilted over the last 10 years. 

Republicans solidly controlled Gwinnett County during Porter’s tenure, even naming a new highway after Ronald Reagan. But in 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton easily won more votes in the presidential election than Republican Donald Trump. Republicans saw several Gwinnett seats in the legislature flip from the Republican to the Democratic side in the last two elections.

As a crime-fighting office, Porter’s office is not traditionally political. But Porter has hewed to some of the GOP’s conservative views. He supports the death penalty and won a capital punishment verdict against convicted child murderer Tiffany Moss earlier this week. Porter has also opposed some efforts in the legislature to loosen laws restricting marijuana use for medical purposes.

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In the late 20th century, as the Democratic Party’s hold on Georgia’s politics slipped, many Democrats flipped Republican. The biggest names were former Democratic lawmakers Sonny Perdue and Nathan Deal, who both became Republican governors.

The reverse switch Porter is considering is much rarer. Republican state representative Kathy Ashe switched to the Democratic party in 2001.

But Porter says becoming a Democrat may make sense as his constituency changes.  

“I want to continue to serve the community, so if the community changes, I have to change,” Porter said.

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