A state senator who left the Republican Party in 2016 to protest Donald Trump being the G-O-P’s presidential nominee has ended his bid for reelection in November.
David Johnson of Ocheyedan was the only independent in the state legislature for the past two years — the first to choose “no party” status in decades. Johnson announced in December he would run as an independent and seek another term in the senate.
“I just decided this was a good time to get people thinking in a different way about the election coming this November,” Johnson said today.
Three Republicans are running in Tuesday’s Primary for Johnson’s spot in the state senate. He’s been a legislator for nearly two decades but, as an independent, he faced a tough run for another senate term in the northwest Iowa district where Republicans far outnumber both independents and Democrats.
Johnson had a long history in the Republican Party before he left it nearly two years ago. His father was a Republican candidate for governor in 1968. Johnson hints he’ll be back at the statehouse next year.
“I want to be engaged from a citizen’s point of view,” Johnson said. “I plan to return to the capitol, perhaps, and advocate for causes that are important to me and important to a number of Iowans.”
There are more than 20,000 Republicans, about 13,000 independents and 7300 Democrats in the district Johnson has represented. There is no Democratic candidate in the Senate District 1, but a Democrat could be nominated by convention before the ballot deadline in August.
(Reporting by Matt McWilliams, KICD, Spencer; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)