Party Switch: State Rep. Andy McKean Flips From R To D

State Representative Andy McKean is switching sides. The Republican legislator from Jones County has decided to leave his party and join Democrats in the Iowa House. He will re-register as a Democrat later this week back at home, and currently plans on running for reelection as a Democrat.

“I found myself increasingly uncomfortable with the stance of my party on the vast majority of high profiles issues and often sympathetic with concerns raised by the minority caucus,” McKean said in a press conference this morning.

But another major factor in his decision was President Donald Trump.

“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 is something I’m unable to do,” McKean said.

“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’re attempting to discourage bullying, his frequent disregard for the truth, and his willingness to ridicule or marginalize people for their appearances, ethnicity, or disability,” McKean added. “I believe that his actions have coarsened political discourse, have resulted in unprecedented divisiveness, and have created an atmosphere that is a breeding ground for hateful rhetoric and actions. Some would excuse this behavior as telling it like it is and the new normal. If this is the new normal, I want no part of it.”

First elected to the Iowa House in 1978, McKean left the Legislature after several terms in the Iowa Senate in 2003. He made his return in the 2016 election, winning what used to be a swing seat in Eastern Iowa.

But the Republican Party he came back to was not the one he used to know.

A moderate Republican, McKean split with his party on many key votes in recent years, including the 2017 collective bargaining and workers compensation bills. He was the only Republican earlier this year to side with Democrats on an amendment to a proposed constitutional amendment on gun rights. He also joined Democrats last week in voting against a bill that allowed stun guns on college campuses. And McKean also opposed the party’s push to change how the process of selecting judges in Iowa.

Advertise on Iowa Starting Line

McKean’s defection takes Democrats to a 47 to 53 minority in the Iowa House. It also significantly increases Democrats’ chances of retaking the chamber in 2020. Although McKean’s HD 58, which covers Jackson County and parts of Jones County, used to be a reliable swing seat, Republicans have improved their vote margins here in recent years.

McKean is very well-known and respected in his district, easily fending off Democratic challenges with an 18-point win in 2016 and a 38-point victory in 2018. He has not yet publicly indicated if he will run for reelection, but his deep roots in the district and decades of electoral success means that this could certainly stay in Democratic hands in 2020.

If it does, that makes the 2020 map much more favorable to Democrats. They would already pick up a seat with McKean that would have been nearly impossible to take had he stayed a Republican. And it takes the pressure off of running the tables in several blue-collar and rural districts that could flip.

Interestingly enough, another party-switcher used to represent this district. Brian Moore first ran as a Democrat in a state senate primary in 2010. After losing to Tod Bowman, he ran as a Republican for the state house seat there and won, holding it in subsequent elections despite strong Democratic efforts.

This is a developing story. More updates to come.



by Pat Rynard
Posted 4/23/19

11 Comments on "Party Switch: State Rep. Andy McKean Flips From R To D"

  • I served with Andy McKean in both the House and Senate for many years. A very “common sense” legislator, Andy was one that had a pragmatic approach to issues. His record of support for conservation and environmental protection was (is) most commendable. He is highly articulate, well versed on the issues before the General Assembly, and his conscience is his guide. And, knowing him the way I do, it was this conscientious conflict with the path of the Republican Party and his obvious and appropriate disdain for the the national party leadership that caused his defection. I applaud you my friend Andy McKean for the honorable person you are. You can hold your head high, and knowing many people in your district, I’m very aware you were elected for the good person you are…..and shall be in the future, regardless of party.

    Senator Dennis Black, Ret.

  • He is what one would call a commonsense politician or what a republican was when Eisenhower first ran for the Presidency . We are so very short on level headed politicians, particularly in our state law making bodies . Thank goodness he did not just give up and quit !

  • Congratulations! Rep. Andy McLean
    I applaud your decision to leave the Republican party for the reasons you stated. I too am a former Republican but because of trump I can not remain.
    I live in Ohio but if I lived in Iowa I would vote for you. Keep up the good fight?

  • Just an unprincipled, radical leftist now. He will fit in nicely with the LOONS in the democrat party.

    Maybe he wants all the felons in the Anamosa Prison to vote for him? Is that what his motivation is?

  • Great! COMMON SENSE? To align oneself with the culture of death and you call that “common sense” I hope your a trojan other than that the Republican Party will not miss you. Drain the swamp!

  • I cannot , for the life of me, see why ANYONE with a sane bone in their body would switch at this time from Republican to Democrat with all the crazy (and I do mean CRAZY) leaders they have! Trump may not be perfect, but he’s the gotten more accomplished on his “to do” list than any president has since I’ve been voting – and he’s still in his first term. I hope America will give him a chance to remain in 2020. The Democrats have done absolutely NOTHING but cry like little titty babies and have gotten NOTHING accomplished. All they care about is impeachment. How’s that helping you Iowans? Are your representatives getting anything done for ya? Trump can’t do it all alone! He needs help from YOUR REPRESENTATIVES! Maybe McKeen should get a backbone and stand up to the Dems and say “enough about impeachment! Lets get some real work done!”

  • Finally!! A republican with BALLS to stand up to the tnediserp. Wish that there were more like, especially in Washington.

  • From State College Pennsylvania, I want to thank Representative McKean for having the courage to say what many Republicans Representatives and Senator think in Washington DC that Donald Trump is a disgrace to the Office of the President and taking the Republican Party along with him. Mitch McConnell are you listening? Put the Country and the World before Party.

  • Having heard Andy speak several times, now, my only thought is, what took him so long? Welcome, Rep. McKean!

  • Respect for Mr. McKean, a man of conscience and principle. I was once president of our County Young Republicans, but that Grand Old Party has deserted its founding principles in favor of greed and selfishness. Did Lincoln never live?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *