published Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Democrat asks Knowles to return funds

by Dan Whisenhunt

The chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party has called on County Clerk Bill Knowles to return campaign donations days after Knowles announced he would join the Republican Party.

“Despite the fact that we find Mr. Knowles’ decision regrettable and particularly disagree with his stated reasons, let me be clear that we harbor no ill will toward Mr. Knowles or his family,” party Chairman Jeff Brown said in a statement released Wednesday.

Knowles announced his party switch Monday.

According to campaign finance records, he raised nearly $30,000 since January 2009.

“Given by his statements that he has been discussing this with the GOP for quite some time, we do ... find his lack of transparency very troubling,” Brown said.

Knowles declined to respond to Brown’s statement, but he said he didn’t intend to return the money.

“People donated to me to be elected county clerk,” he said.

Brown is “trying to find an issue, apparently,” he added.

Knowles did not discuss his switch with Democratic Party officials, Brown said, even though Knowles “made use of our party’s resources.”

Knowles successfully ran 10 times as a Democrat, but he said he switched because he advertised “conservative values” during his campaign.

Republicans openly encouraged voters not to vote for his Republican opponent, Chester Heathington.

Contact Dan Whisenhunt at or 423-757-6481. Follow him on Twitter at

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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willdean37415 said...

Well, that means Mr. Knowles will not get my vote the second time around!

September 16, 2010 at 11:58 a.m.
chioK_V said...

Knowles was probably a Repulican all along. He just decided to come out of the closet.

September 16, 2010 at 10:46 p.m.
Salsa said...

Anyone who votes for the party label instead of the candidate is an idiot anyway.

September 16, 2010 at 11:37 p.m.
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