Wednesday, April 24, 2019

How Many Republican Legislators Will Leave The Party Because Of Trump?


When you woke up yesterday, Democrats were still sweating how to win back the state House of Representatives in 2020. There were 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats in the body so the Dems have to win 5 seats. That changed before everyone went beddie-bye. Now there are 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats in the House. One Republican switched parties-- and not just any Republican. Andy McKean is was the longest serving Republican in the state legislature-- 40 years. He re-registered as a Democrat. Why? Señor Trumpanzee, of course. McKean: "With the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon, I feel, as a Republican, that I need to be able to support the standard bearer of our party. Unfortunately, that's something I'm unable to do... I think the party has veered very sharply to the right. That concerns me."

The rural 58th House district is primarily made up of Jackson County, includes most of Jones County, and Cascade and Whitewater townships within Dubuque County. Maquoketa is the closest thing to a city-- population about 6,000. The district falls entirely within the first congressional district, where garden variety Democrat Abby Finkenauer beat GOP extremist Rod Blum last year. The 58th stayed loyal to Blum-- and had gone to Trump in 2016, 57.8% to 37.1%.

In 2018, McKean defeated his Democratic opponent, Joe Oclon 9,004 (69.2%) to 4,004 (30.8%). This is a red district and McKean didn't flip blue to gain any partisan advantage for himself. Jeff Kaufmann, chair of the Iowa GOP is already on the attack: "When he was running for office a mere five months ago, he made a commitment to the voters of District 58, running on the Republican platform. Today, he has violated the trust of the voters in his district."

The Des Moines Register reported that this could auger poorly for Republican legislative plans. Todd Prichard, the Democratic Minority Leader, said the shift creates an "interesting dynamic" for the rest of the session, which is expected to end within days. It's unclear whether Republican lawmakers have the votes to pass several policy bills.
"If the majority wants to bring forward what I would call controversial and bad ideas ... it would probably delay," Prichard said. "We're not going to lay down and just acquiesce to that kind of partisan idea. ... It could definitely prolong the session."

McKean, a retired attorney, has been long viewed as a moderate within his party and hasn't always voted along party lines. Earlier this session, he was the only Republican in a committee meeting to vote "no" against a bill that would revamp who is on the commission which selects judge nominations for the Iowa Supreme Court.

Many Republican lawmakers argue the legislation would make the nomination process more accountable to voters, but Democrats and lawmakers like McKean have said it will make the courts more partisan.

While McKean considers himself a moderate, he said he still is more fiscally conservative. But he said he sees the Democratic caucus as more moderate, and that he will be able to find a role in the party.

"There may be some things I might not appreciate in that caucus as well," he said. "I will continue to speak out for what I believe in. I look forward to that opportunity."

McKean has been in the Iowa Legislature for decades, though he left for several years. He was first elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1978, and also served in the Iowa Senate from 1993 to 2003. He rejoined the House when he was elected to represent Anamosa in 2016.
McKean: "I might have limped along attempting to work within my caucus for what I felt was best for the people I represent if it hadn’t been for another factor. I believe that is just a matter of time before our country pays a heavy price for President Trump’s reckless spending and short-signed financial policies, his erratic, destabilizing foreign policy, and his disregard for environmental concerns... Furthermore, [Trump] sets, in my opinion, a poor example for the nation and particularly for our children by personally insulting, often in a crude and juvenile fashion, those who disagree with him, being a bully at a time when we’re attempting to discourage bullying, his frequent disregard for the truth, and his willingness to ridicule or marginalize people for their appearance, ethnicity or disability."

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At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many? Not enough. And, they won't switch parties quickly, hanging on instead to see if Trump's fortunes reverse and put them in a position to make gains for themselves.

I worry that certain democraps will decide that they are on the wrong side and make the switch.

At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure he switched because he thinks that'll get him re-elected. It can't be because of trump or he'd have switched as soon as trump said Mexicans were rapists and murderers. It's been 38 months of this shit and NOW is the last straw? Fuck him!


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