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Vulnerable Democrats signal support for impeachment articles this week

The ranks of vulnerable House Democrats representing competitive districts who pledged to vote in favor of articles of impeachment against President Trump swelled Monday, with at least eight issuing statements of support and just one signaling he will break ranks with the caucus.

Democratic Reps. Elissa Slotkin (Mich.), Matt Cartwright (Pa.), Jason Crow (Colo.), Joe Cunningham (S.C.), Ben McAdams (Utah), Abigail Spanberger (Va.), Andy Kim (N.J.) and Gil Cisneros (Calif.) were among those who made their plans public on Monday in press conferences, statements and op-eds published in local papers as they make their way back to Washington from their districts ahead of an expected Wednesday floor vote on two articles of impeachment.

They join vulnerable Reps. Tom Malinowski (N.J.), Sharice Davids (Kan.), Susan Wild (Pa.), Angie Craig (Minn.), Antonio Delgado (N.Y.), Chris Pappas (N.H.), Katie Porter (Calif.), Max Rose (N.Y.), Colin Allred (Texas), Conor Lamb (Pa.), Elaine Luria (Va.), Kim Schrier (Wash.), Susie Lee (Nev.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.) and Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.), all of whom said in recent days they will vote for the articles charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

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Two vulnerable Democrats have already voted in favor as members of the House Judiciary Committee, which advanced the articles on Friday: Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Fla.) and Lucy McBath (Ga.). 

So far, only one Democrat has signaled plans to vote against the two articles of impeachment.

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) told constituents over the weekend that he won’t vote for the articles of impeachment, barring any new information coming forward.

Freshman Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (D-N.J.) also said last week that he planned to vote against the articles of impeachment, but he began signaling to staff and other members of the New Jersey delegation over the weekend that he plans to switch parties in the coming days.

Peterson and Van Drew were the only Democrats to vote against a resolution in late October establishing procedures for the impeachment inquiry.

Peterson argued that impeachment is a futile exercise given that GOP senators aren’t likely to convict and remove Trump. He also predicted that four or five Democrats will also join him in voting against the articles of impeachment, though so far he remains the only one to express opposition.

“This is dividing the country for no good reason because he’s not going to be thrown out of office,” Peterson said, according to the West Central Tribune. “Why are we doing this?”

But other Democrats who, like Peterson, represent districts that Trump carried in 2016 are falling in line to back the articles of impeachment.

McAdams, a freshman who flipped a GOP-held district last year, announced at a press event in his district on Monday that he would vote for the articles of impeachment.

“What the president did was wrong. His actions warrant accountability. I cannot turn a blind eye, thereby condoning this president and future presidents, Republican or Democrat, to do the same,” McAdams said. “I will vote yes.”

McAdams noted that he tried to push for censuring Trump instead of impeachment, but the idea did not gain traction among fellow Democrats or Republicans.

“I hoped to find bipartisan common ground to censure the president instead of putting the country though a divisive and lengthy Senate impeachment trial with a predetermined outcome of dismissal,” McAdams said. “But that is not the choice I have before me.”

Cunningham told the Post and Courier on Monday that he similarly plans to vote in favor of both articles of impeachment.

“At the end of day, this is simply about the rule of law, whether we’re a country with laws or not and what type of precedent we want to set for future presidents,” Cunningham said.

Crow, who co-authored a Washington Post op-ed in September with six other freshmen with national security backgrounds backing an impeachment inquiry, announced in a statement on Monday that he would back the articles of impeachment.

“President Trump’s unprecedented abuse of power and obstruction of Congress leaves us with no choice but to proceed with impeachment. No man or woman is above the law in our country, including the president. It’s time for me to once again fulfill my oath to the Constitution,” Crow said.

Slotkin, another freshman co-author of the Washington Post op-ed, backed the impeachment articles as well ahead of a town hall in her district on Monday.

“Over the past few months, I’ve been told more times that I can count that the vote I’ll be casting this week will mark the end of my short political career. That may be,” Slotkin wrote in an op-ed published in the Detroit Press on Monday.

“But in the national security world that I come from, we are trained to make hard calls on things, even if they are unpopular, if we believe the security of the country is at stake,” Slotkin wrote. “There are some decisions in life that have to be made based on what you know in your bones is right. And this is one of those times.”

Cisneros, another freshman who co-wrote the Washington Post op-ed, also announced his support for the articles on Monday.

“This was not a decision I took lightly, but I swore an oath to serve our country and defend our Constitution when I enlisted in the United States Navy, and again in January when I was sworn in as a member of Congress. For me, this is not about personal politics or party affiliation. It is about upholding my oath to put our country and our Constitution first and protect our national security. That is why I will vote to move forward with the impeachment of the president,” Cisneros said in a statement.

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Spanberger, another author of the op-ed and former CIA officer, also told a local NBC affiliate on Monday that she plans to vote for the articles of impeachment.  

Cartwright, a four-term lawmaker who handily won reelection last year in a district that Trump carried, also revealed his plans to vote for the impeachment articles in an op-ed on Monday.

“In the end, I took only one oath — the one to support, uphold and defend our Constitution. And even though it may be deeply unpopular at times, I intend to remain faithful to it. That is why I will vote to advance both articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Cartwright wrote in USA Today.

Cartwright acknowledged that he’s a target of Republicans, who are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into his district to drive up opposition to impeachment.

“I am now a top target of the national GOP, which is hoping to take back the House next year. Already, deep-pocketed dark money groups are spending staggering amounts of money in my Pennsylvania district, attempting to tell a different story about my record — painting me as a crazed partisan, hellbent on impeachment,” Cartwright wrote. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Kim, citing his national security background under the Obama administration, said in a statement that “I will stand up to those that abuse the power entrusted to them by the people regardless if they are Democrats or Republicans.”

Updated: 5:45 p.m.

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