Nebraska Senator Ditches Dems After Pro-Abortion Censure

Nebraska Sen. Mike McDonnell | Image by Nebraska Legislature

Nebraska Sen. Mike McDonnell of Omaha announced Wednesday that he is officially leaving the Democratic party and registering as a Republican after the party censured him and denied him access to resources.

“In 1984, I decided to register as a Democrat,” McDonnell said at a press conference posted to X. “I was a Christian, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and I was proud of that. And I was pro-life. In 2016, I decided to run for the legislature. I was pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-union. I have tried to stick with those principles. That has not changed for me.”

In recent months, the Nebraska Democratic Party censured McDonnell and refused to provide access to resources vital to his office. The party led what McDonnell described as a “revenge” campaign against the long-time Democrat because he supported legislation restricting abortion and transgender procedures for minors.

“I am pleased to welcome Senator Mike McDonnell to the Republican Team. The extreme new Democrats are pushing common sense officials and voters to our party,” said U.S. Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-NE), as reported by The Daily Wire. “The addition of Mike McDonnell to the Republican rolls in the [Nebraska] legislature means for the first time in recent memory there is a filibuster-proof Republican majority in the Unicameral.”

Nebraska Democrats defended their decision to censure McDonnell.

“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,” Nebraska Democratic Party head Jane Kleeb said, though she added that the censure was not about his beliefs as a “pro-life Catholic.”

“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.”

McDonnell said the biggest factor in his decision to switch to the Republican party was the treatment he received from Democrats, who he said effectively told him that he could not participate in the party due to his beliefs.

The Democratic party’s stance on many social issues has recently driven other, more middle-of-the-road officials to abandon the party. In Dallas, Mayor Eric Johnson recently announced that he was switching parties, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. 

Johnson explained at the time that his decision had largely to do with the Democratic party’s apparent anti-police position and its lack of focus on efficient government operations.

“It’s never easy for someone to make this kind of decision,” McDonnell said. “The greatest thing about it is that now, I can participate again.”

McDonnell’s defection adds to the strength Republicans hold in the state. Republicans have control of the Nebraska governorship and its legislature, which has a unique one-house system.

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