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Longest-Serving Republican in Iowa Legislature Switches Party Affiliation

Longest-Serving Republican in Iowa Legislature Switches Party Affiliation

WASHINGTON — Iowa Representative Andy McKean announced today he’s switching his party affiliation from Red to Blue, bringing Democrats just 4 seats away from taking control of the Iowa House. 

“Representative Andy McKean has shown courage time and again standing up for his constituents and rural communities,” said Jessica Post, executive director of the DLCC. “Today, he’s taking another courageous step by leaving Trump’s extreme Republican Party and joining Iowa Democrats to better represent the values and interests of eastern Iowa.” 

McKean is the longest-serving Republican in the Iowa Legislature today. He was first elected to the House in 1978 and then served in the Senate before leaving the Legislature in 2003. In 2016, he returned to the House representing District 58, eastern Iowa’s rural, blue-collar Jones and Jackson counties. 

“Upon returning to Des Moines after a 15-year hiatus, I found a very different place,” McKean said. “In addition, I found a very changed Republican Caucus. Although I have great respect for the Speaker and Majority Leader and appreciate their efforts to find a role for me in the caucus, I found myself increasingly uncomfortable with the stance of my party on the vast majority of high profile issues and often sympathetic with concerns raised by the minority caucus.”

In 2018, Democrats gained five seats in the state house. At the time, between four additional Republican-held swing districts, there was a cumulative difference of just 543 votes  showing Democrats have a clear path for taking the House in 2020. 

“Representative McKean didn’t leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left him -- and their loss is our gain,” Post said. “We’re going to have his back in 2020 and with this seat in Democratic control the path to taking back the Iowa House is clear.” 

McKean sailed to victory in 2018 with almost 70 percent of the vote. The lifelong Republican said he may have been able to remain in the GOP, had it not been for Donald Trump and the looming 2020 election. 

“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,” McKean said. “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.”

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