State Senator Jean Schodorf

The Republican Party has changed. Its leadership is completely obedient to America's economic elite, and the days where it defended labor unions and government investment in the country's great middle class are over.

Recognizing this, Kansas Republican State Sen. Jean Schodorf -- who recently lost a bruising primary to a conservative insurgent allied to Governor Sam Brownback -- has announced that she will be changing her party affiliation to Democrat or independent:

“My family has been Republican since Lincoln - since the party started,” said Schodorf, who was defeated last month by Wichita City Council member Michael O'Donnell. “My parents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents were all Republicans. But it's changed. There's no room for people who actually think in moderation.”

Schodorf has held the seat since 2001 and served 12 years on the Wichita school board. But O'Donnell had the backing of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and benefited from independent advertising by the anti-tax, small-government group Americans for Prosperity.

Schodorf was called a “taxing queen” in one campaign mailer, while her 27-year-old challenger was portrayed in a mailing as “Mikey” the baby.

“I kept thinking, `We're in the same party. Why are we crucifying ourselves?' “ said Schodorf, who is looking into starting a blog aimed at moderate Kansans.

Terese Johnson, the Sedgwick County Democratic Party chairwoman, said she hopes Schodorf becomes a Democrat.

Schodorf ran for Congress last year but was defeated by now-Rep. Mike Pompeo -- who has been labeled as the congressman from Koch Industries due to all the support the billionaire industrialists provided him --  in the Republican primary.

UPDATE: Here's a couple areas where Schodorf broke from the Republican orthodoxy in the state. She is deeply concerned about cuts to the mental health and education budgets in the state, especially as her role as head of the Senate Education Committee.