MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Randy Johnson was on the Hennepin County Board for more than 40 years and a Republican party leader for more than 50 years, but now, he says he doesn't recognize his party.
"I haven't left the Republican party; the Republican party left me," Johnson said.
Sitting in the backyard of his Bloomington home, Johnson says he wishes it were different, but the longtime elected official and Republican activist says the party of President Trump is not his party.
"I still have the same fiscally conservative values, the same beliefs in limited government. The Republican party is kind of out in Never Never Land right now," Johnson said.
Johnson retired in 2017. Now, in a scorching letter to the Star Tribune, he reveals for the first time in his life he's voting Democrat.
"Frankly I think President Trump has hijacked the Republican party, and the brand and the label," Johnson said.
President Trump is popular among Minnesota Republicans, but Johnson says he can't support what the President stands for.
He won't vote for his former Hennepin County Board colleague Jeff Johnson for governor, or his friend Erik Paulsen for Congress. He says he cannot trust they will ever stand up to President Trump.
"I think it's time for Republicans -- mainstream, real Republicans -- to stand up and say 'enough is enough,'" Johnson said.
Johnson says other Republicans feel the way he does, but are not comfortable speaking out.
So, he will.
"I really want to still be a Republican, but I'm an independent now," Johnson said.
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