The San Diego County Sheriff's Department Administration Center / Photo by Megan Wood

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This post originally appeared in the Feb. 9 Morning Report. Subscribe here for free.

The Republican Party of San Diego County endorsed John Hemmerling’s campaign for county sheriff. We noted this might happen in our Politics Report Saturday but now it’s official.

Photo courtesy of John Hemmerling

Hemmerling, a former Marine who runs the criminal division for the San Diego city attorney’s office, told us at a debate last year that he had left the Republican Party and become a no-party-preference voter. His two rivals for sheriff, Dave Myers and Kelly Martinez, had also left the GOP but both of them joined the Democratic Party (Martinez just last year).

Hemmerling had made clear it wasn’t just a technicality of his registration but a proactive decision he had made. This led us to run with the headline that there would definitely not be a Republican sheriff and how that’s kind of interesting. He wouldn’t elaborate on why he left the party.

“That decision is personal to me as well. And, like Kelly (Martinez) said, I believe the sheriff should be apolitical, nonpartisan and perform unbiased law enforcement in the county,” he said at the time.

Tuesday, though, his campaign sent out the announcement of the Republican Party’s support.

“Whether as a combat Marine, a tough street cop, or chief criminal prosecutor, Republican John Hemmerling will be a tough, law and order Sheriff that voters can trust and take pride in,” said Paula Whitsell, the chairwoman of the local Republican Party, in a written statement Hemmerling sent out.

Speaking of the sheriff … County supervisors on Tuesday signed off on a plan to hire an interim sheriff following longtime Sheriff Bill Gore’s retirement.

Times of San Diego reports that the county will accept applications over the next month from candidates who can serve until next January after voters select a permanent sheriff — and that candidates for that gig won’t be eligible for the temporary post.

Supervisors expect to settle on five finalists at a March 15 public hearing and to choose the interim sheriff at a March 22 meeting. Candidates will be invited to give presentations at both meetings.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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