GOP leaders don't like the GOP, either!

In Maine and Iowa, state Republican leaders are fleeing the party -- but for very different reasons

By Jillian Rayfield
Published August 21, 2013 1:00PM (EDT)

As national Republicans continue to squabble about whether or not to shut down the government over a repeal of Obamacare, the reverberations from the party's schism are being felt at the state level.

In both Maine and Iowa, state GOP leaders announced Tuesday that they will be leaving the party, though for very different reasons.

The co-chairman of the Polk County Republican Party in Iowa cited Rep. Steve King's recent comments that some Dreamers are drug smugglers with "calves the size of cantaloupes" when announcing his resignation from his position, and his decision to become an Independent. Chad Brown said King, also an Iowa Republican, had made "hateful" comments that were representative of the party's shift too far to the right. “No one’s really stood out to really fight him on those. I think they’re hateful statements," he told the Des Moines Register.

Brown also decried the influence of the NRA and the Christian right on the party, and its “declared war on science and common sense."

"I’m disappointed with the Republican Party at the National level. I’m disappointed with the Republican Party at the Statewide level," he wrote in his resignation letter. "I’m disappointed with the Republican Party at the Countywide level. I find it increasingly difficult to defend issues and statements made by Party leaders and officials from all three levels."

Meanwhile, in Maine, a group of seven Republicans from Maine's State Republican Committee, including one who was a voting member of the RNC, have abandoned the party and resigned, saying Maine Gov. Paul LePage and House Speaker John Boehner have pushed the party too far away from conservative values.

From the Portland Press-Herald:

The seven party activists were among 12 people who wrote a scathing letter to a state Republican official Sunday listing their grievances.

They criticized Republican state lawmakers for supporting a budget containing tax increases, charged Boehner with "cowardly leadership" and said recent decisions by the LePage administration show that "the Republican Party has lost its way."

"(We) can no longer allow ourselves to be called nor enrolled as Republicans; we can no longer associate ourselves with a political party that goes out of its way to continually restrict our freedoms and liberties as well as reaching deeper and deeper into our wallets," the letter said. "We instead choose the path that focuses on ways to help our fellow Mainers outside of party politics."

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

MORE FROM Jillian Rayfield

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Iowa John Boehner Maine Paul Lepage Republicans