DES MOINES, Iowa – State Rep. Andy McKean from Anamosa who represents Iowa House District 58 announced today that he has left the Republican Party and will re-register and run for re-election as a Democrat.
McKean, 69, served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1978 to 1993. He then was elected to the Iowa Senate where he served from 1993 to 2003. He ran for the Iowa House again in 2016 when incumbent Republican State Rep. Brian Moore did not run for re-election. McKean won a three-way Republican primary against Allen Ernst and Joshua Sundstrom. He defeated the Democratic nominee Jessica Kean by almost 2900 votes in the general election. He recently won re-election in 2018 by easily defeating the Democrat nominee Joe Oclon by 5000 votes.
McKean recently sided with Democrats on a number of key votes. He voted against the constitutional amendment that would insert gun rights protections into the Iowa Constitution in 2018 but voted for it this year’s session. He recently voted against the measure that allows college students to carry stun guns on campus. He voted against the fetal heartbeat abortion ban. He also voted against collective bargaining reform and judicial nominating commission reform.
At a press conference this morning, McKean noted that he sided with Democrats on a number of issues.
“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,” he said.
McKean noted that he could not support President Donald Trump in 2020.
“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,” he stated.
McKean said he plans to re-register as a Democrat and will run for re-election in 2020 as a Democrat. Unlike former State Sen. David Johnson, I-Ocheydan, who left the party in 2016 representing a strong Republican district and subsequently decided not to run for re-election in 2018, McKean represents a district that could welcome the party switch. Democrats have a voter registration advantage of approximately 1300 voters over Republicans. Independents make up the largest voting bloc in Iowa House District 58 with 9,364 registered voters.
With McKean’s switch, the Republican majority in the Iowa House shrinks to 53 to 47.