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House vote locks in impeachment as issue in 2020 Hill races

FILE - This Sept. 18, 2019 file photo shows House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism Co-Chairman Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y. during a hearing on "meeting the challenge of white nationalist terrorism at home and abroad" on Capitol Hill in Washington. Voters will decide whether to reward or punish incumbents for their choices. And while Republicans and Democrats acknowledge that other issues like the economy and health care costs could overwhelm impeachment by next November, both sides, but especially the GOP , are already using the bitter impeachment fight as weapons. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

BY ALAN FRAM

The day after nearly every House Democrat voted to impeach President Donald Trump, the chief of the House Republican campaign committee said the political fallout was clear.

“Last night their obsession with impeachment finally came to a head, and they basically ended their majority,” Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer said Thursday. “Max Rose is done,” he continued, listing the New York lawmaker among freshmen Democrats from districts Trump captured in 2016 who he said won’t survive next November’s elections.

The feisty Rose, a Brooklyn native and Afghanistan combat veteran with an advanced degree from the London School of Economics, sees things differently.

“Mark my words, okay?” said Rose, whose Staten Island-centered district was the only one Trump won in New York City. “We are going to beat them by such a wide margin that next time around, they won’t even talk like this again, okay?”

It’s too early to say who will be proven correct as Republicans wage a challenging struggle to regain the House majority they lost last year. But less than 11 months from presidential and congressional elections, the near party-line House vote impeaching Trump locked in lawmakers’ positions on the subject.

Many moderate lawmakers from swing districts had spent months saying they were on the fence.

Now, voters will decide whether to reward or punish incumbents for their choices. And while Republicans and Democrats acknowledge that other issues like the economy and health care costs could overwhelm impeachment by next November, both sides — but especially the GOP — are already using the bitter impeachment fight as weapons.

Republican organizations and conservative outside groups have outspent their Democratic rivals, $11 million to $5 million, on television ads mentioning impeachment in congressional races. The figures from Advertising Analytics, a firm in Alexandria, Virginia, that tracks advertising, exclude spending by candidates’ campaigns.

Of the remaining 17 districts, all were carried by Trump and all but one are represented by Democratic freshmen, who are often less secure than congressional veterans.

“If you’re a truth seeker or care about where the country is going, I think we cast the right vote,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., who heads House Democrats’ campaign organization.

That’s a formula that Rose, whose working-class district Trump carried by 10 percentage points, is following.

Asked how he would overcome GOP attacks over his vote to impeach Trump, Rose cited measures including one financing a sea wall for Staten Island’s eastern shore and another buttressing a compensation fund for survivors of the 9/11 attacks.

“We are delivering for the district, plain and simple,” he said. “Over and over and over again, we’re putting government back on the side of people who’ve been working their hearts out and been ignored.”

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