Nebraskan Senator Thwarts Democrats By Switching to Republican Party 

StunningArt /
StunningArt /

Fed up with the antics of the Democrat party in Nebraska, State Senator Mike McDonnell has jumped from the sinking ship and declared himself a Republican.  

McDonnell has been a Democrat since 1984 but is frustrated by the party’s lack of respect for his pro-life stance. As a practicing Roman Catholic, the left’s views on abortion directly oppose his own, and he found his voice deliberately silenced by them. 

Senator Pete Ricketts (R-OH), a former state governor, expressed his satisfaction with Senator Mike McDonnell’s decision to join Republicans. He noted that “extreme new Democrats” are pushing moderate officials and voters” to the GOP.  

McDonnell’s decision was sparked by the Nebraska Democrat Party’s decision to censure him for his voting record, which they claim negatively affected transgender and abortion rights in the state. “I asked the Democratic Party in Douglas County to respect that I’m pro-life and a member of the Roman Catholic Church. And my beliefs are based on that,” McDonnell said, adding, “Douglas County Democrats, instead of respecting it, decided to punish it.” He said that he had been told he could not be a delegate, he could not participate in the party’s activities, and that he was blocked from accessing the party’s resources. 

Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, defended her party’s actions, clarifying that the decision to censure Senator McDonnell was not “solely” because he is a pro-life Catholic. Instead, it was rooted in the party’s dedication to “upholding core values” such as “safeguarding women’s ability to make health decisions” and “preventing political interference in personal health matters.”  

Now, the newly welcomed Republican’s actions may have consequences for the future of the Democrat Party in the state. 

Currently, Nebraska awards two electoral votes to the statewide presidential vote winner. In other words, the candidate who secures the majority of votes across the entire state receives these two electoral votes. However, Nebraska further divides its remaining three electoral votes by congressional district, granting a vote for the winner of each district. The only other state currently using this method is Maine. 

This system has occasionally resulted in scenarios where a Democratic presidential candidate wins one electoral vote from Nebraska’s Democrat-aligned Omaha-based congressional district, even though the state tends to lean Republican. In 2008, former President Barack Obama gained one electoral vote this way, and in 2020, President Joe Biden secured this same electoral vote despite the overall state’s support of then-President Donald Trump. 

GOP leaders, led by Governor Jim Pillen, advocate for transitioning to a winner-take-all system for distributing the state’s Electoral College votes. While this approach is consistent with most states, it would mean changing Nebraska’s current methods that permit electoral votes to be divided by Congressional district. 

Pillen announced his support for the Republican-backed bill, saying it more accurately reflects what the country’s founders intended. He explained that awarding all Electoral College delegates to one candidate would ensure that Nebraska “speaks with a united voice in presidential elections.” 

Advocates say this change would unify Nebraska’s voice in presidential elections. Critics see it as a way for Republicans to maintain power in a state where some areas support Democrats. 

The bill to overhaul Nebraska’s electoral college vote process seemed blocked, with Democrats having enough votes to table it until after the current legislative session. That’s no longer a given with McDonnell’s decision to leave the Democrat party and potentially vote with Republican lawmakers. 

Ricketts noted, “This timing heading into a Presidential election is an awesome opportunity to mobilize our Republican majority to a winner-take-all system and put one more electoral vote in the Republican column for 2024.” 

It’s a decision that GOP candidate Donald Trump embraces. On Truth Social, he weighed in on Pillen’s push for a “winner takes all” approach to awarding all electoral college votes, posting, “Thank you, Governor, for your bold leadership. Let’s hope the Senate does the right thing. Nebraskans, respectfully ask your Senators to support this Great Bill!” 

No president has ever won an election by just one electoral college vote. However, with the highest stakes in recent history, Ohio doesn’t want to be the one who unintentionally re-elects Biden. And now that Democrats have driven one of their own out of the party, they have all but secured the whole state for Trump.