Nevada Mayor John Lee Says He Left Democratic Party Over 'Senseless Devotion to Cancel Culture'

The mayor of Nevada's third-largest city said he left the Democratic Party and joined the Republicans this week, claiming "card-carrying socialists" won local seats and now there's "no place left for a pro-life, pro-gun, Christian" like himself.

North Las Vegas John Lee penned a Fox News op-ed Thursday that accused newly elected Democrats of having one clear goal: "ending the America we know and love." He repeatedly stated in separate interviews during the past week that "cancel culture" has become his biggest problem with politics.

"I will not let the America I love be hijacked by an extremist left-wing mob that blacklists, bans, shouts down and cancels anyone who disagrees with them," the Democratic Party defector wrote. "That is why I am switching to register as a member of the Republican Party. Though I've been a registered Democrat on paper, I made the switch in my heart a long time ago, because on some things, there's simply no compromise."

Lee announced Tuesday morning on Fox & Friends that "elitist" Democrats on the state and national level hijacked the party and are pushing it toward an "extremist, socialist" agenda.

Judith Whitmer, the new chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party, ridiculed Lee's ties to Democrats, responding on Tuesday that he voted for former President Donald Trump twice and has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA), according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Speaking Tuesday on Fox & Friends, Lee specifically complained about the recent Nevada elections in which several progressive Democrats were elected to Clark County and state-level seats. The mayor said that he decided to switch parties because "radical" liberals were not just a national issue; he said he realized they are now in Nevada.

"Four of the five people were card-carrying members of the socialistic (sic) party. It's not the party that I grew up with 25 years ago in this environment and it's not the party that I can stand with anymore," Lee said Tuesday in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It was more than I could take and I just decided my value system was such that I couldn't take any more. I just needed to move on."

Whitmer took over the state Democratic Party leadership during last month's primary elections alongside several progressives, including party Vice Chair Jacob Allen, Second Vice Chair Dr. Zaffar Iqbal and Secretary Ahmed Ade. Whitmer's win came after she defeated Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, who had rebuffed party "unity" efforts between progressives and moderates.

Lee acknowledged on Fox & Friends on Tuesday that he had "hung on" in the Democratic Party for years hoping things would "get better," but they "got worse."

Lee first won his mayoral seat in 2013 and won re-election as a Democrat in 2017. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the same year that he doesn't plan on seeking a third term.

He is not the first Democrat-turned-Republican in the Trump era. New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew switched parties, citing the former president's "America first" movement as his primary reason.

Newsweek reached out to Lee on Thursday for additional remarks about his switch from the Democrats to the GOP.

Donald Trump, transition, Joe Biden, HR McMaster
Supporters of President Donald Trump protest outside the Clark County Election Department on November 7, 2020, in North Las Vegas, Nevada. North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee said he left the Democratic Party and joined the Republicans, claiming "card-carrying socialists" won local seats and now there's "no place left for a pro-life, pro-gun, Christian" like himself. North Las Vegas John Lee Ethan Miller/Getty Images/Getty