Guest Columnist

Rep. McKean's Party switch is a charade

Jeff Kaufmann, Republican Party of Iowa chairman speaks at an Iowa GOP election night watch party at the Hilton Des Moines Downtown Hotel in Des Moines on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.  (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Jeff Kaufmann, Republican Party of Iowa chairman speaks at an Iowa GOP election night watch party at the Hilton Des Moines Downtown Hotel in Des Moines on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

In a recent opinion piece, Rep. Andy McKean laid out his reasoning behind his party switch at the Statehouse. He’d have you believe any number of excuses — President Donald Trump is divisive, Republicans pass partisan legislation, PACs have too much influence on campaigns. While McKean has every right to say what he wants, voters should know some facts he so conveniently leaves out.

In 2016, McKean happily ran as a member of the Republican Party — in fact, he ran in a primary to secure his place on the ballot. He convinced voters he was a Republican. He relied on local party volunteers to help with his campaign and even took more than $100,000 from the state Republican Party. All while being on the ballot with Pres. Trump. Apparently, McKean did not have a problem being a Republican when it came to winning a successful campaign or riding on the coattails of the president, who carried McKean’s district by 20 points.

For a person who claims he’s troubled by PAC spending in legislative races, you’ll find Mr. McKean’s financial reports littered with them. He has accepted tens of thousands of dollars from PACS to advance his campaign and his agenda.

Finally, he’d like you to believe that Republicans are disinterested in reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats. The fact of the matter is, most of the legislation passed each year is bipartisan and monumental bills like creating a children’s mental health system or the state’s first ever medical cannabis program were overwhelmingly bipartisan. During the last General Assembly, 88.9 percent of bills passed were either unanimous or bipartisan.

Maybe this whole charade of party switching isn’t really about party politics or money or Pres. Trump. Maybe it’s about someone who wanted to make national headlines. Garner some attention for themselves. Be courted by those in influence. Maybe this is just another example of what’s wrong with politics today — self-serving, egotistic politicians tell voters one thing and go to Des Moines and do another.

• Jeff Kaufmann of Wilton is chair of the Republican Party of Iowa.

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