Several freshman House Democrats who occupy congressional districts that were won by Republicans in 2016 on the back of President Donald J. Trump are noticeably perturbed about the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry and how it might affect their 2020 campaigns.
Politico noted as much in a Monday story, quoting anonymous lawmakers who are growing frustrated with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) potentially hurting their re-election bids. The Rundown News reached out to the offices of some of these Democrats Monday.
The ones who are talking are obviously miffed. Others are playing their cards close to their vests.
Chris Mackenzie, spokesman for Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK), was not pleased at all with this reporter’s pesky questions. After pointing out that in 2016, then-Rep. Steve Russell, a Republican, won about 160,000 votes on Trump’s coattails, and that Russell’s opponent only won about 103,000 votes that year, Mackenzie fired back a curt reply.
“Thank you for your thoughts Peter,” he said annoyedly.
He refused to confirm or deny whether Horn would vote for Trump’s impeachment should House Democrats proceed to that stage.
Similarly, Jordan Wong, spokesman for Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), informed this reporter that twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton actually won Porter’s district in 2016. That was after being asked if — knowing that Trump carried the district in 2016 — Porter would commit to voting for Trump’s impeachment.
“I so appreciate you reaching out and sharing new information with me,” he said sarcastically.
Wong wanted to argue semantics, but he knew exactly what the point was. Similarly to Horn’s district, Porter’s was won in 2016 by then-Rep. Mimi Walters, a Republican, who garnered about 187,000 votes to her Democrat opponent’s 129,000.
Wong’s enthusiasm was curbed when prompted directly about his confidence and whether he would confirm that Porter would indeed vote for impeachment. He did not respond to that comment request.
The offices of Democrat Reps. Max Rose (NY), Elaine Luria (VA), and Lucy McBath (GA), did not return comment requests. They, along with Porter, Horn, and around 25 other freshman Democrats face the same predicament.
All of them live in districts that Trump carried to victory in 2016, as voters are more likely to turn out in a presidential election year and vote straight ticket. Democrats were able to flip about 30 seats in the 2018 off-year cycle while GOP leadership was asleep at the wheel (or actively opposing Trump, in the case of esteemed former House Speaker Paul Ryan). There’s little reason to believe, however, that on the back of Trump’s 2020 bid, those seats will remain blue.
The Democrats know this, which puts their 30 or so freshman in an awkward spot: vote for impeachment to please Pelosi and risk drawing the ire of their pro-Trump constituents, or vote against their own party.
Democrats have not yet announced whether they will proceed with an impeachment vote, and will likely drag the saga out as long as possible without making that decision.
The Rundown News plans to reach out to all the Democrats who are on the bubble. Check back with us for updates.