Iowa’s longest-serving Republican lawmaker becomes Democrat, cites President Trump

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Legislature’s longest-serving Republican announced Tuesday that because of President Donald Trump, he will be joining the Democratic Party, calling Trump “a poor example for the nation and particularly for our children.”

State Rep. Andy McKean, who has served in both Iowa’s Senate and House chambers, identified with the Republican Party for 35 years before Tuesday’s announcement and is the longest-serving Republican in the state’s Legislature today, according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

“With the 2020 president 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 is not something I am able to do,” McKean said at a news conference.

“He 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 we are attempting to discourage bullying, his frequent disregard for the truth and his willingness to ridicule or marginalize people for their appearance, ethnicity or disability,” McKean said.

McKean’s district sits in two rural, blue-collar counties in Iowa — Jones and Jackson. Because Iowa is both a perennial swing state and a battleground state, it often is used as a litmus test for the direction both parties are moving in. Though Trump has only one announced Republican challenger, Iowa could be an important state for the President to win in the general election.

McKean’s defection puts the Democrats four seats away from taking control of the Iowa House, according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

“I believe that it is just a matter of time before our party pays a heavy price for President Trump’s reckless spending and shortsighted financial policies, his erratic, destabilizing foreign policy and his disregard for environmental concerns,” McKean added.

“If this is the new normal, I want no part of it.”

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