During a press conference to announce Rep. Andy McKean (R-Anamosa), he talked about why he was leaving the Republican Party. Much of it had to do with 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,” he said. “Unfortunately, that is something I’m unable to do.”
McKean launched into heavy criticism of Trump.
“I believe that it is just a matter of time before our country pays a heavy price for President Trump’s reckless spending and short-sighted financial policies, his erratic, destabilizing foreign policy and his disregard for environmental concerns,” McKean said. “Furthermore, 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 appearance, ethnicity or disability.
“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.”
But he did in 2016. He wanted a large part of it.
He won a three-way Republican primary in 2016 and was elected in November in “a tough district against a credible and well-financed opponent,” according to McKean’s own words.
McKean beat his Democrat opponent, Jessica Kean, in 2016 with 59.05 percent of the vote. He received 9,078 votes while Kean received 6,296.
During that campaign cycle McKean received $111,954 from the Iowa Republican Party. His next top contributors were the Associated General Contractors of Iowa ($4,000), Jackson County Republican Central Committee of Iowa ($1,650), Iowa State Bar Association ($1,500) and Jones County Republican Central Committee of Iowa ($1,450), according to Follow the Money.
In 2018, the Republican Party of Iowa gave him $3,267.50 on Oct. 26, just before the general election. RPI gave him that money despite his vote against the Heartbeat bill.
McKean has been a vocal critic of judicial nominating changes as well as the strict scrutiny language in the proposed constitutional amendment defending Iowa gun owners.
Jeff Kaufmann, chair of RPI, responded to McKean’s switch on Twitter.
“When Rep. McKean ran in 2016, he had no problem riding to victory on President Trump’s coattails. He’s about to feel the headwind of President Trump’s support in District 58,” Kaufmann wrote. “When he was running for office a mere five months ago, he made a commitment to the voters of District 58, running on the Republican platform. Today, he has violated the trust of the voters of his district.
“It’s disappointing that he felt the need to deceive Iowans. If the people of District 58 can’t trust him on something as simple and fundamental as what party he belongs to, how can they trust him on any issue?”
The district encompasses all of Jackson County and parts of Jones County.
In 2016, Trump won Jackson County by nearly 2,000 votes. It was nearly identical in Jones County.
In 2018, Gov. Kim Reynolds won Jackson County by nearly 1,200 votes. She won Jones County by more than 1,100 votes.