Jim Neil, the Democratic sheriff of Ohio’s politically important Hamilton County, apologized to his constituents Monday, one day after he was spotted at a rally for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
Speaking at a news conference outside the Hamilton County Justice Center, Neil apologized not only to his constituents but also to the local Democratic Party for being “selfish” and potentially alienating Democratic supporters.
“It was selfish on my part because I didn’t take into consideration the other candidates on the Democratic ballot that are going to be running with me, because this could not just impact my votes, but it could impact the votes on anyone on the Democratic ballot,” Neil said. “I want to apologize for my actions.”
He added, “I’m a public servant … public safety is my priority.”
During the news conference, Neil made it clear that he didn’t attend Trump’s rally to symbolize an agreement politically but rather to show appreciation for the billionaire’s support of law enforcement.
Still, Neil’s decision to attend the rally is hurting him politically, according to Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke — especially in an election year.
“Frankly, it is hurting him politically,” Burke said. “I think Jim has been a good sheriff the last four years — with a record that deserves re-election — but he is going to have to explain to an awful lot of Democrats what we’re supposed to think.”
Despite the confusion, Neil said he plans to vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Ohio’s primary Tuesday, along with other Democrats in the local and state races.
(H/T: USA Today)
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: