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Republican lawmaker quits GOP weeks after winning re-election in Maine

Maine State Rep. Don Marean has left the Republican Party for reasons that he has not specified


Matthew Rozsa
January 8, 2019 7:21PM (UTC)

Rep. Don Marean, a state legislator in Maine, left the Republican Party without explanation last week, although his moderate voting record could offer a clue into his motives.

Marean unenrolled from the Republican Party on Thursday and in the process reduced the GOP's minority in the Maine House of Representatives, according to the Bangor Daily News. While Marean told the Bangor Daily News that he wasn't going to elaborate on why he left the party "out of respect" for his Republican colleagues, one possible explanation is that he was a more moderate congressman within the party's conservative caucus.

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Marean was one of four Republican state legislators to oppose former Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill that would have banned conversion therapy of people in the LGBT community. LePage himself was a notoriously right-wing governor, a man whose positions and controversial, racially charged statements quickly made him one of the most unpopular governors in the country.

Marean isn't the first Republican state legislator to recently leave the party. Last month Salon spoke with Sen. Barbara Bollier, a state legislator in Kansas who was very open about her reasons for leaving the Republican Party.

"When I registered to vote in 1976, Kansas was led by moderate Republicans; over the course of those forty plus years, the Republican Party has steadily moved away from the value system I stand for, particularly funding public education and government closest to the people," Bollier explained.

"In the past, leaders such as Senator Nancy Kassebaum and President Dwight Eisenhower worked consistently to maintain a moderate voice. When the State Republican Party codified a statement against transgender identity in their platform, coupled with the blind support of President Trump's intolerant and dictatorial style, my moral compass said 'No!' I can no longer be complicit with that ideology and now find my home with the Democratic Party, a group that stands up for the issues that matter most to my Senate district."

Bollier later added, "People are hungry for leadership that represents their value system, and the vast majority of my constituents want our public schools funded and Medicaid expanded. As a public servant, there will always be people who disagree with my decisions. This decision was not just about me, but was to show all Americans that when things are not right, we must courageously speak out. In the end, my own moral integrity had to be upheld and that was no longer possible within the Republican Party."

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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