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California GOP Lawmaker From San Diego Switches Parties, Criticizes Trump

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, center, smiles at a news conference where he a...

Credit: Associated Press / Rich Pedroncelli

Above: Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, center, smiles at a news conference where he announced he was switching party registration from Republican to Democrat, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. Maienschein was flanked by Democratic Assembly members, from left, including Todd Gloria of San Diego, Mark Stone of Scotts Valley, Kevin McCarty of Sacramento, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher of San Diego and Tom Daly of Anaheim.

A moderate California Republican state lawmaker is switching parties while criticizing President Donald Trump's policies and leadership.

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein of San Diego 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 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 of Escondido called him a "turncoat" who switched for political expediency.

Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, said in a statement that Maienschein should resign.

"Brian Maienschein has shown himself to be the absolute worst kind of politician; someone making decisions based on politics instead of principles," Krvaric said. "By running for re-election as a Republican he was making a statement about who he was and now he is switching parties for self-preservation and political games."

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein said he differs with the Republican Party on immigration as well as health care, gun control, abortion and gay rights.

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