(AP) – A moderate California Republican state lawmaker is switching parties while criticizing President Donald Trump’s policies and leadership.
Assemblyman Brian Maienschein announced Thursday that he is becoming a Democrat, saying he and the Republican Party have moved in different directions since he was elected in 2012.
He says Trump has led the party “to the extreme.”
Maienschein represents the border city of San Diego. He says he differs with the Republican Party on immigration as well as health care, gun control, abortion and gay rights.
He has sometimes voted with Democrats on environmental and human services legislation. His defection gives Democrats an overwhelming 61 votes in the 80-member Assembly.
He won re-election by 607 votes in November. Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron called him a “turncoat” who switched for political expediency.