Sixteen freshmen Democrats appear to be key players in the impeachment fight within House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s own caucus. They either claim they do not support the impeachment of President Trump or refuse to say one way or another where they stand on the issue.
These Democrats flipped Republican seats in 2018 in Trump-won districts. Most of the wins were by small margins, so their precarious positions going into 2020 places Speaker Pelosi into a precarious position too as she navigates the impeachment question.
Who are these freshmen Democrats that Pelosi owes her majority to? Are they as moderate on various issues as they would like their constituents to think they are? What about the impeachment of the president? Is it something that they do not want to engage in? Here is look at some of these lawmakers.
REP. TOM MALINOWSKI (D-NJ)
New Jersey Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski announced Friday he now supports impeaching President Trump. Malinowski, who in 2018 defeated Republican incumbent Lance Leonard 52 to 47 percent, previously claimed he was against an impeachment inquiry into the president and campaigned on issues related to health care and ethics.
“It feels as if every single day he is testing the boundaries of what’s acceptable in the United States,” said Malinowski. “If we the Congress say and do nothing, then the boundaries gradually disappear.”
REP. SUSAN WILD (D-PA)
Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Susan Wild won an open seat vacated by retiring Republican Charlie Dent in a special election. She later went on to win it again in the regular election in 2018. In August of that year, Wild told The Washington Post she was not interested in the idea of impeachment.
“I don’t want to see a two-year distraction,” she said. Presently, though, Buzzfeed reported Wild said, “I don’t think that anybody came to Congress last year wanting to move down this path. But honestly, we’re at the point where the administration’s leaving us no choice.”
REP. ANGIE CRAIG (D-MN)
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Angie Craig won her seat after defeating Republican incumbent Jason Lewis 53 percent to 47 percent in the 2018 election. Craig attempted to win the seat previously in 2016 but lost to Lewis by 2 percentage points.
Immediately following her win she told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that impeachment was not something she wanted to discuss in Washington.
“I’ve said that we shouldn’t be having that discussion. If there’s a reason to have that discussion, it would come after a thorough investigation … the independent investigation that’s being led by Robert Mueller. I’m talking about how do we … work with this administration on a daily basis to pass bipartisan legislation and actually work together in this country again. I support the continuation of an independent investigation.”
The investigation is now over. When asked by a constituent at a town hall if she would support impeachment last month, Craig would only say that she now wants the un-redacted version of the Mueller Report, The Farmington Independent reported.
REP. JOSH HARDER (D-CA)
California Democratic Rep. Josh Harder won his seat in 2018 after defeating four-term Republican incumbent Jeff Denham 52 to 48 percent. Harder helped introduce the Democrats’ Medicare for All legislation this year. Additionally, he voted to mandate universal background checks and voted against funding for the border wall.
Harder, who boasts about his “pro-choice” background was recently endorsed by the abortion rights activist organization NARAL.
The group endorsed every Democrat for 2020 that previously flipped a Republican seat in the 2018 midterms, McClatchy reported. Why does this matter for Harder?
His district, according to McClatchy, is home to well-known evangelical and Catholic churches as well as a yearly Walk for Life in Modesto on Good Friday that brings in thousands of people who protest abortion.
REP. ANDY KIM (D-NJ)
New Jersey Democratic Rep. Andy Kim won his seat in 2018 by eking out a win against Republican incumbent Tom MacArthrur. Kim received 50 percent of the vote, while McArthur garnered 48.7 percent. A third party candidate who ran on the Constitution party line received 1.3 percent of the vote.
Kim believes that climate change is a greater national security issue than terrorism yet when he was asked about the Green New Deal proposed by New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Kim dodged the question, claiming he was just trying to get answers and solutions from voters in district.
On impeachment, Kim told New Jersey 101.5 back in April, “although I do not support immediate impeachment proceedings, I do believe in the dogged pursuit of truth, transparency and the value of sunlight as the best disinfectant.”
Kim also said that “The Mueller Report makes crystal clear the effort and extent to which Russia interfered in our 2016 election and while the Special Counsel declined to charge the President with obstruction of justice, he was equally as clear on Congress’ authority to do so.”