Along with Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) defeat in the GOP primary race on Tuesday evening, the vast majority of House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump during his second impeachment are slated to leave Congress.
Cheney is the fourth to lose her primary election, while four declined to seek another term. Two others survived their primaries.
Trump has specifically criticized each of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him during his second impeachment. Seven GOP senators also voted to convict him, although the effort ultimately failed and only one of them faces voters in the upcoming midterms.
The former president hailed Cheney’s defeat to GOP candidate Harriet Hageman, who he backed, and wrote that Cheney is “a fool who played right into the hands of those who want to destroy our country.” At the same time, he said her defeat is a “referendum” on the House Jan. 6 committee that Cheney co-chairs.
“I assume that with the very big Liz Cheney loss, far bigger than had ever been anticipated, the January 6th Committee of political Hacks and Thugs will quickly begin the beautiful process of DISSOLUTION? This was a referendum on the never ending Witch Hunt,” Trump wrote.
After the loss, Cheney—the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney—publicly speculated on whether she will consider a 2024 presidential bid, telling NBC News that it is “something that I’m thinking about.”
The other Republican member of the House Jan. 6 panel, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said last year that he won’t run for reelection.
“It has also become increasingly obvious that in order to break the narrative, I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide,” he said last year.
Kinzinger had an uphill battle in reclaiming his House seat after spending a significant part of the Trump years criticizing the former president on CNN and other corporate news channels. Observers have speculated that Kinzinger—because of his frequent media appearances—may join a major network channel as a political analyst or commentator.
The move was hailed by Trump, who wrote last year in an email: “2 down, 8 to go!”
Jaime Herrera Beutler
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), another pro-impeachment Republican, conceded to Republican challenger Joe Kent after he narrowly defeated her in the GOP primary. Kent was backed by Trump.
“Ever since I was first elected to this seat I have done my very best to serve my home region and our country,” Beutler said last week.
“Though my campaign came up short this time, I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished together for the place where I was raised and still call home.”
When Herrera Beutler cast her vote to impeach Trump, she claimed it is “not a fear-based decision” and said she is “choosing truth.”
Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) lost the Republican primary race by more than 25 percentage points to the Trump-backed Russell Fry, a former state representative.
In February, Trump criticized the lawmaker and called him a “coward.”
“Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina, the coward who abandoned his constituents by caving to Nancy Pelosi and the Radical Left, and who actually voted against me on Impeachment Hoax #2, must be thrown out of office ASAP,” he said.
During his campaign, Rice attempted to play up his support for many of Trump’s policies but continued to defend his impeachment of the former president.
After Rice’s defeat, Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) became the second pro-impeachment Republican defeated in their primary. He lost several weeks ago to Trump-backed candidate John Gibbs.
In an NPR interview last week, Meijer suggested that Democrat-bought ads that supported Gibbs were the reason why he lost.
“Well, I think if you want to say that everything is a cynical, partisan ploy at the end of the day, then just say it,” Meijer, a member of the wealthy Meijer family that owns supermarkets, said in response to a question about reports of Democratic groups funding his opponent.
Gibbs, meanwhile, confirmed he got a call from Trump after his victory.
“After we got the good news and the race was called, we did get a call from President Trump, who just wanted to congratulate me,” Gibbs told WZZM.
“He was very excited and said get back to work hard real soon, because it’s going to be tough going into November, and we know that, and we’re gonna be ready for it, so I think it’ll be a good race.”
Rep. Fred Upton (R-N.Y.) announced in April 2022 that he won’t seek reelection.
During a CNN interview, Upton admitted that Trump has a hold on the Republican Party.
Trump has “had a number of decisive wins where he’s endorsed candidates that they have won,” Upton said of Trump on CNN’s “State of the Union” program in June. He added the former president “certainly entertains a majority of the Republican base and will be hard to stop.”
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), a former football wide receiver, confirmed he won’t attempt to run for reelection for a third term, coming a few months after voting to impeach Trump.
The vote drew significant backlash from Ohio’s Republican Party. Months later, he was censured and GOP officials called for him to resign in 2021.
The lawmaker “resorted to emotional conclusions that misplaced blame on President Trump, the President of Law and Order and America First,” the GOP resolution read. “We believe that Congressman Gonzalez knowingly and willfully violated his oath of office.”
Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) announced in January that he would retire from the House. He denied claims that his vote to impeach Trump played a role.
“I was quite certain, even with the redistricting that was done in New York state, that I had a path to victory,” Katko told the Washington Post in March.
At the time of the announcement, Trump cheered his retirement: “Great news, another one bites the dust. Katko, from Upstate New York, is gone!”
Earlier this month, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) became just one of just two pro-impeachment House Republicans to survive their primary challenge.
Trump endorsed Republican challenger Loren Culp, issuing a statement earlier this year that “Newhouse joined the Radical Left Democrats to vote for the Impeachment Hoax, angering his constituents.”
Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) survived his GOP primary, advancing in June. He will face California state Assembly member Rudy Salas, a Democrat, in a newly drawn congressional district. Trump didn’t endorse a challenger to Valadao.
Valadao is reportedly a close ally of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who issued a statement backing the fellow Californian last year.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is the only Republican senator up for reelection in 2022 who also voted to convict Trump during his impeachment trial.
Murkowski and her GOP challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, advanced to the November general election where they will face off against one another in Alaska’s controversial ranked-choice election system.
Trump backed Tshibaka against Murkowski, who frequently criticized Trump during his term. The senator did not vote to convict Trump during his first impeachment.
While he left Congress and the Republican Party before Trump’s second impeachment, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan was the lone non-Democrat in the House to vote in favor of Trump’s first in January 2020.
Amash, a former Republican who left the party in mid-2019 before joining the Libertarian Party in spring 2020, didn’t seek reelection and left Congress in January 2021.