Mark Kersey. Campaign photo

San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey announced Monday that he has changed his political affiliation from Republican to independent.

Kersey, who made the announcement in a series of Twitter posts, said the “polarized prism of partisan politics” dissuaded him from identifying with either party. He also said the decision is one he has been “wrestling with” for a while.

“Make no mistake: both parties have plenty of good and decent members,” Kersey said. “But today’s political climate rewards ideologues, not problem-solvers. I ran for office to rebuild San Diego, not localize the debate over federal and state partisan malice.”

Kersey’s decision follows another high-profile defection from the party in San Diego. In January, Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein switched his allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Republican Party of San Diego County Chairman Tony Krvaric reacted to Kersey’s announcement via a Twitter post.

“(Kersey) will find that there is scant support outside of the Republican Party for individual liberty, personal responsibility, and limited, efficient government,” Krvaric wrote. “Anyone who subscribes to those principles is welcome in our party any time.”

Kersey’s defection further weakens the Republican Party’s influence on the technically nonpartisan City Council. Democrats secured a supermajority in the November mid-term election, making their decisions on controversial issues immune to the mayor’s veto.

Chris Cate and Scott Sherman are now the council’s only Republicans. Kersey and Sherman will both be termed out in 2020.

Kersey has yet to announce his next move after leaving the council, but he has been rumored to be mulling a run for mayor of San Diego, a race that already includes fellow City Councilwoman Barbara Bry and Assemblyman Todd Gloria. The race to succeed Kersey in City Council District 5 includes Deputy City Attorney Marni von Wilpert and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Patrick Batten.

City Council District 5 includes northern parts of the city like Rancho Bernardo, Carmel Mountain, Scripps Ranch and San Pasqual.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. April 29, 2019

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