Democrats in Trump coun­try cau­tious about im­peach­ment

The Morning Call - - NATION & WORLD - By Sean Mur­phy

OK­LA­HOMA CITY — Demo­crat Ken­dra Horn sur­prised even her own sup­port­ers in 2018 when the first-time can­di­date eked out a vic­tory in an Ok­la­homa City con­gres­sional dis­trict that had been in Re­pub­li­can hands for nearly four decades and had voted heav­ily for Don­ald Trump in 2016.

But now the im­peach­ment drive against the pres­i­dent has put her and oth­ers like her in a tight spot.

She op­poses an im­peach­ment in­quiry at this time, Horn spokes­woman Chacey Schoep­pel said, but she will lis­ten to the facts and “go through them me­thod­i­cally.”

An As­so­ci­ated Press sur­vey on Fri­day of most of the House Democrats showed six as ei­ther not sup­port­ing or un­de­cided on the in­quiry that was an­nounced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The six rep­re­sent a small share of the 235 Democrats in the House. And Pelosi doesn’t need them to move ahead with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

But they il­lus­trate the in­se­cu­ri­ties of those Democrats who man­aged to get elected from Trump coun­try.

All the hold­outs hail from dis­tricts that Trump won hand­ily in 2016 and that the Repub­li­cans are tar­get­ing as they try to win back the House in 2020. Most of the six weighed in af­ter the ex­plo­sive whistle­blower com­plaint against the pres­i­dent be­came public Thurs­day.

Horn’s mar­gin of vic­tory in 2018 was 1.4 per­cent­age points in a dis­trict that Trump won by nearly 14 points.

“She’s a smart politi­cian. That’s why she’s be­ing cau­tious,” said Univer­sity of Ok­la­homa po­lit­i­cal science pro­fes­sor Keith Gad­die. “Horn’s seat is the No. 1 most com­pet­i­tive Demo­crat-held dis­trict in the U.S. right now.”

Other Democrats who have joined Horn in op­pos­ing the im­peach­ment in­quiry into the pres­i­dent’s at­tempt to en­list Ukraine in dig­ging up dirt on his ri­val Joe Bi­den are Reps. Collin Peter­son of Min­nesota and An­thony Brin­disi of up­state New York. Democrats who re­sponded to the AP as “un­de­cided” were Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Ben McA­dams of Utah and Xotchitl Tor­res Small of New Mex­ico.

“I think we have al­le­ga­tions and news re­ports right now, and I’m not go­ing to jump to any con­clu­sion un­til all the facts come out,” said Brin­disi, whose dis­trict Trump won by 16 points.

Tor­res Small has had to walk a fine line in her sprawl­ing dis­trict in New Mex­ico’s bor­der re­gion, which has tra­di­tion­ally voted Re­pub­li­can.

“Xo­chitl Tor­res Small has to be care­ful not to be painted as a lib­eral Demo­crat who just signs on to any­thing that let’s say Nancy Pelosi sup­ports,” said vet­eran poll­ster Brian San­deroff. “She ex­hibits cau­tion, which is smart po­lit­i­cally and prob­a­bly more re­flec­tive of at least half of her dis­trict.”

Collin Peter­son, the lone Demo­crat in Min­nesota hold­ing out against the im­peach­ment push, called the process a waste of time. He has rep­re­sented a huge swath of north­west­ern Min­nesota for nearly 30 years, and his po­si­tion as chair­man of the House Agri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee adds to his ap­peal to the dis­trict’s ru­ral and agri­cul­tural base. Trump won Peter­son’s dis­trict by 30 points.

“If any­one thinks a par­ti­san im­peach­ment process would con­strain Pres­i­dent Trump, they are fool­ing them­selves,” Peter­son said in a state­ment. “With­out sig­nif­i­cant bi­par­ti­san sup­port, im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings will be a lengthy and di­vi­sive ac­tion with no res­o­lu­tion.”

Collin Peter­son, Minn.

Xotchitl Tor­res Small, N.M.

An­thony Brin­disi, N.Y.

Jared Golden, Maine

Ben McA­dams, Utah

Ken­dra Horn, Okla.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.