Kelly Shaw, the Republican Mayor of Indianola, announced today he will switch parties and caucus for Senator Amy Klobuchar for president on February 3.
“Those of you who know me, and there are several of you here in the community that know me, would be surprised I would be up here stumping for a Democratic candidate,” Shaw said at an event Friday afternoon. “I do come from the Republican side, having worked in the House of Representatives at the US level for a Republican who has long since moved to lobbying ranks.”
Shaw used to work for Iowa Congressman Jim Lightfoot.
“But, as I began to look around and began to look at the issues that face Indianola as a community and began to look at different candidates that were out there, certainly Senator Klobuchar rose to the top,” Shaw said. “I applaud her in terms of her common sense approach to policy and her ability to reach across the aisle.”
Shaw was elected in a non-partisan election as Mayor of Indianola in 2017.
He holds a Ph.D in political science from the University of Missouri and is a political science professor at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.
Shaw said it was one of his students who really introduced him to Klobuchar.
“She talked about what a pragmatic, practical and caring person Senator Klobuchar was. That’s all it took for this recovering Republican to endorse your mother,” Shaw told Klobuchar’s daughter, Abigail Bessler, who was also at the event in Indianola.
Shaw said Klobuchar’s plans for workforce development and to rebuild infrastructure also caught his eye.
“One of the things we’e seen certainly seen at the federal level is things have gotten done, but maybe not in the right way,” Shaw said. “And often times in terms of some of the things we see in terms of equality, there’s a gap. That gap impacts all of us.
“Not only the people of color…but even in a city like Indianola,” Shaw said. “We need policy and we need policy from somebody who can reach across the aisle and build coalitions.”
Shaw’s endorsement could be helpful to Klobuchar as she’s lost out on other notable endorsers from the area in recent weeks.
State Rep. Scott Ourth, of nearby Ackworth, endorsed Pete Buttigieg and former state senator Staci Appel, of Indianola, endorsed Joe Biden.
A few others from Indianola announced their endorsements earlier in the election cycle. Those endorsements include Indianola school board member Donna Kreamer, who endorsed Buttigieg, and city council member Bob Kling, who endorsed Biden.
Klobuchar was able to pick up Raymond “Skip” Phillips earlier this year. Phillips is an outspoken Democrat in the area. He serves on the Warren County Central Committee and has previously run for a seat on the Warren County Board of Supervisors.
Several of Klobuchar’s endorsers joined in the big event in Indianola Friday afternoon including Iowa state Rep. Ross Wilburn, a Democrat from Ames, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Duluth Mayor Emily Larson.
Klobuchar was in Washington D.C. Friday serving as a juror during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
by Paige Godden