A Trump-loving candidate for sheriff in North Carolina claims he would have "ultimate power" — outweighing even the president's authority on local matters — if he's elected as the county's "constitutional sheriff."
The Citizen Times reports that David Hurley, a former Republican who has pushed former president Donald Trump's false claims of election fraud, is now running as a Democrat and challenging the incumbent Buncombe County sheriff in Asheville.
"The sheriff is the ultimate power in America," Hurley declared at a recent event. "It's been the best-kept secret that they didn't want to get out. Even sheriffs that are in the seat today don't know the power that they have. ... The biggest terrorist organization right now is the United States government."
Hurley, a Marine, is part of what is known as the "constitutional sheriffs' movement," which he learned about recently at a "patriot" gathering hosted by his ex-wife. The constitutional sheriffs' movement has been spreading across the country and is linked to "white supremacy, antisemitism, unrestricted gun ownership, creation of armed 'posses' and opposition to laws ranging from federal taxes to vaccination mandates," the Citizen Times reports.
Rachel Goldwasser, who tracks hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the newspaper: "Many of these sheriffs — not all, but many — bridge the gap among extremist groups and pull them together in an anti-government movement. It's problematic, to say the least."
The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) was founded by Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff who has served on the board of the Three Percenters, a right-wing militia group involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Mack said the association has 4,500 dues-paying members, including two hundred sheriffs.
The association's principles include "a pledge not to enforce any federal, state, county or city law mandating mask wearing, limiting the crowd sizes of public or religious gatherings, or restricting business operations 'not withstanding any real or ostensible public health emergency." The group's website also warns about "the imagined threat of 5G mobile phone transmission," the Citizen Times reports.
Hurley, who's recently been involved in protesting school mask mandates, acknowledged that he's only running as a Democrat because it's difficult for Republicans to get elected in Buncombe County. The incumbent sheriff, Quentin Miller, is Black.
Hurley claims there is "no law requiring you to pay taxes" and said he would not allow the IRS to place liens on county citizens.
At his recent rally, he warned that the government will soon mandate COVID vaccines, vowing not to enforce the requirement. He also threatened to arrest Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer if she were to attempt to enforce a vaccine mandate — drawing vigorous applause.