San Diego Assemblyman Brian Maienschein has announced he has left the Republican Party and has registered as a Democrat. He made the announcement Thursday surrounded by the San Diego Assembly delegation, as well as other members of the Assembly Democratic Caucus.
Maienschein said the current state of the Republican Party was a factor in his decision.
"Donald Trump has led our party to the extreme on issues that divide our country. But his leadership is not the only reason for my change in party affiliation," Maienschein said. "I, too, have changed. As the Republican Party has drifted further right, I and my votes have shifted further to the left."
But there are also political factors at play.
Maienschein wasn’t sure he was going to make it back to the Assembly when he faced re-election last November. The moderate Republican has authored bills expanding social services and promoting mental health. But the blue wave that rolled over much of California almost took him down with it. Maienschein beat his Democratic challenger by just about 600 votes. Still, he insists his narrow win did not convince him to switch parties.