State senator ditches Democrat Party after 40 YEARS to become a Republican

A Nebraska state senator crossed the divide and joined the Republican Party after four decades as a Democrat.

State Senator Mike McDonnell announced Wednesday that he is switching parties, citing his anti-abortion stance as one of the factors in his decision. The lawmaker claimed that his religious beliefs on the sanctity of life caused Democrats to “punish” him as the county party withdrew its support and the leading committee in the state party censured him.

“Today I’m announcing, I am now going to be a registered Republican in the state of Nebraska,” the senator revealed Wednesday.

The former firefighter and union leader who’s been a Democrat since 1984, made his announcement in a press conference on Wednesday.

“I asked the Democratic Party in Douglas County to respect that I’m pro-life, that I’m a member of the Roman Catholic Church. And my beliefs are based on that,” McDonnell said. “Douglas County Democrats instead of respecting it, they decided to punish it.”

“They said you cannot participate, you can’t be a delegate, we’re not gonna share our party resources,” he added. “I continue to vote pro-life. The state Democratic Party decided to censure me. I continue to vote pro-life.”

The Nebraska Democratic Party, which censured McDonnell in March, pushed back on his claim.

“The Nebraska Democratic Party will continue to stand up for reproductive freedom and the human rights of the LGBTQ community. Our decision to censure Sen. McDonnell was never about him being a pro-life Catholic,” NDP chair Jane Kleeb said Wednesday in a statement, according to Newsweek.

“Our decision was based on our party reaffirming our core values to protect women’s ability to make health decisions and to keep politicians out of our personal health decisions. We respect the ongoing work of Senator McDonnell on behalf of unions and his commitment to protect a fair electoral vote system we have in our state,” she added.

“McDonnell’s switch, confirmed by Douglas County election officials, gives the GOP 33 members in a one-house Legislature. That’s a significant number in a 49-member body with rules that require 33 votes to overcome a filibuster. Democrats would then hold 15 seats, plus a progressive who is a registered nonpartisan,” the Nebraska Examiner reported. “The Legislature is officially nonpartisan and often splits along different fault lines than political party. On controversial votes, however, senators tend to vote more often along party lines.”

The switch also raises questions about a push for a winner-take-all approach to allotting Nebraska’s Electoral College votes. Nebraska and Maine are the only states that currently allow their electoral votes to be split by Congressional district.

Regardless of his party change, McDonnell said he is not backing any winner-take-all approach.

“I’m not supporting winner-take-all. I haven’t in the past when that question came up. Years ago, I was pretty clear on my position.”

Frieda Powers


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