Impeachment Vote Leaves GOP Lawmakers’ 2022 Chances Uncertain

Republicans Who Voted To Impeach President Donald Trump On Jan. 13 May Face Consequences Of Their Vote In 2022.

U.S. Capitol Building At Night

Photo: Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Published January 20, 2021

The Center for Responsive Politics [By Krystal Hur]-

Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Trump after his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The Republicans who voted for impeachment include Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.).

While they may face primary challenges in 2022, the lawmakers likely won’t see the donor backlash that fellow colleagues who voted against impeachment faced — and they could garner support from groups that do support impeaching Trump. 

Some of the House Republicans’ top contributors in the 2020 election cycle have said they will pause PAC contributions in the wake of the Capitol riot. That includes Boeing, whose employees and PACs are Newhouse’s second largest contributors. Others like Ernst & Young, whose employees and PACs were the top contributors of Rice’s campaign, have condemned the event. But companies have largely not made additional promises about donations since the impeachment vote, and corporate PAC donation freezes are unlikely to have an impact on candidates’ campaign finances in 2022. 

Bruce Oppenheimer, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, said he suspects the lawmakers know “they may not have as much difficulty raising money.”

“Clearly, you know people aligned with the Lincoln Project, etc., may be able to help them and raise money,” Oppenheimer said. “And they may use their showing of independence to get money from sources that are sort of now cutting off Republicans.”

But while their campaign finances may not be in jeopardy, several House Republicans have drawn criticism from fellow Republicans accusing them of turning on Trump and aligning themselves with Democrats, leaving the lawmakers’ 2022 election chances up in the air.

X-Files Style - The Truth Is Not Out There

Cheney is the House Republican Conference Chair and the highest ranking member of the Republican Party among the 10 GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump. Her top donors in the 2020 election cycle were employees at Morgan Stanley, a financial services company, and Castle Harlan, a private equity firm. On Jan. 13, the Wyoming Republican Party denounced her vote in a statement, criticizing her decision as helping Democrats “smear the entire conservative movement and all Republicans.”

“Representative Cheney has aligned herself with leftists who are screaming that what happened last Wednesday is the ‘worst thing ever in our history’ (or similar such claims),” The statement said. “That is absurd and shows their lack of knowledge of history as well as their willingness to skew the facts to further their corrupt agenda.”

Rice, whose vote blindsided members of his party, drew backlash from the South Carolina Republican Party and Horry County Republican Party. 

“Trying to impeach the President with just a week left in his term … will do nothing but harm the country and our Party,” wrote Drew McKissick, South Carolina Republican Party chairman. “We completely disagree with this sham and to say I’m severely disappointed in Congressman Tom Rice would be an understatement.”

As part of the 2020 redistricting cycle, state legislatures could redraw maps in a way that would kick out the GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump. Oppenheimer said that he expects New York, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois to each lose a district, with the possibility that some states might lose more than one district.

“So the question is, ‘what happens in those states which lose a district — Upton and Meijer’s districts for example in Michigan border one another,’” Oppenheimer said. “So I think they have to worry about not just about the primary election, some of them may have to worry about general elections.”

Despite harsh rebukes from fellow Wyoming politicians including state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Wyo.), who said he is “entertaining a run against” her, Cheney said that she’s “not going anywhere.” Rice told the Associate Press that he accepts that his decision could cost him his seat in 2022. 

“You tell my constituents I love ’em, and it’s the honor of my life to do this job.” Rice said. “I’ve tried to do my best to do the right thing and represent their interests, but if they decide that it’s time for me to come home, that’s OK, too.”

Oppenheimer said that while Cheney’s name recognition makes her a formidable opponent in the 2022 primary election, her impeachment vote will make “moving up in the House Congressional leadership” more difficult.

For Valadao, whose majority-Latino district Biden won by 10 points, the vote to impeach could help position the congressman as a more moderate candidate, Oppenheimer said. The congressman lost his seat to T.J. Cox (D-Calif.) in 2018 and won it back in 2020.

“My sense is his real concerns are not primaries or general election,” Oppenheimer said. “And so it gives him a chance to say, ‘I’m more moderate,’ you know, ‘my claims of being more moderate are accurate’ — so in his case that actually could help him.”

He added that he also doesn’t “expect the Republicans to want to go after one of their Latino members” like Gonzales, who is Cuban American. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the mob at the Capitol was “provoked by the president and other powerful people.” McConnell has said before that he is undecided on whether he will vote to convict Trump. It is not yet certain when the Senate will convene for Trump’s impeachment trial.

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