Nebraska state senator switches from Democrat to Republican

 April 4, 2024

Nebraska Democrats were dealt a blow this week after a state senate announced that he is ditching the party. 

According to Omaha's KETV7, state Sen. Mike McDonnell revealed on Wednesday that he is now a Republican despite having previously been a registered Democrat for the past four decades.

McDonnell says he was punished for his faith

McDonnell addressed his decision to switch parties when speaking to reporters, saying, "In 1984, I decided to register as a Democrat."

"I was a Christian, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and I was proud of that. And I was pro-life," McDonnell explained.

"I have 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," he continued.

"Douglas County Democrats, instead of respecting that, they decided to punish it. They said you cannot participate, you can't be a delegate, we're not going to share our party resources,"  McDonnell recalled.

Former Democrat praises GOP lawmakers

"I continue to vote pro-life [and] the state Democratic Party decided to censure me," the senator complained before adding, "This is not an easy decision."

"After forty years as a registered Democrat, having your grandfather tell you when you're 10 years old, 'What are we? We're Irish, we're Catholic, and we're Democrats'--that kind of stuck with me," McDonnell remarked.

"It's never easy to make this kind of decision, but what makes it easier is the people standing behind me," he said, gesturing to a group of Republican lawmakers.

Meanwhile, KETV7 noted that Nebraska Democratic Party chair Jane Kleeb issued a statement of her own regarding McDonnell's departure.

Democratic chair defends party's stance on abortion

"The Nebraska Democratic Party will continue to stand up for reproductive freedom and the human rights of the LGBTQ community," Kleeb insisted.

"Our decision to censure Sen. McDonnell was never about him being a pro-life Catholic. 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," she declared.

"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," Kleeb concluded.

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