Judge Jordan switches parties

Published 11:50 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Escambia County District Judge Dave Jordan, who is entering the second year of a second six-year term, switched to the Republican party this week — but Republican party officials said the courthouse could have seen two new Republican judges.


Jordan’s decision came after several months of discussion, which coincided with talks the Republican party was having with Circuit Judge Bert Rice, who is up for re-election this year, Republican Party chairman Jeff Peacock said. Rice eventually decided not to switch parties.

“I have reached this decision after months of thought and prayerful consideration,” Jordan said. “I do not take it lightly. I have made what I feel is the best decision at this time.”

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Jordan has served as district judge for Escambia County since January 2003. He was successfully elected in 2004 and subsequently re-elected to his current six-year term in 2010.

Jordan met with the Escambia County Republican Executive Committee Friday, Peacock said, and the committee approved the party switch.

“Judge Jordan is an outstanding public servant and we are excited that he has decided to join the GOP,” Peacock said. “His decision is just another sign that the liberal agenda being pursued  by the Democratic party is out of touch with the conservative values of Escambia County voters.”

Escambia County Democratic Party chairman Everette Price said he was disappointed to lose Jordan, but he took issue with Peacock’s comments.

“There is no ‘agenda’ on the part of the Democratic party” in Escambia County, he said.

Peacock said Rice’s decision not to switch parties was disappointing. Rice qualified to run for re-election last Friday afternoon, on the final day to declare for office. If he is elected, he would serve his third term; he was elected to the seat in 2007 when Judge Joseph Brogden retired.

Rice could not be reached for comment Friday; his office said he was at a conference.

Peacock pointed out that an independent candidate could still run for the circuit judge seat but would have to qualify by March 13.

Asked if the Republican party might look for a candidate to run against Rice, Peacock would only say, “We are always looking for qualified candidates.”