1. Rep. Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.): It makes sense why he’s on this list. He is the only Democrat to win a district in 2018 that Trump won by more than 15 points, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. Now he’s a top target of Republicans, who are determined to prove his win was a fluke and that Upstate New York is still their territory.
What he’s saying about impeachment: Interestingly, he’s using a lot of the same language that his colleagues who do support it use.
2. Rep. Joe Cunningham (S.C.): He won an impressive election last year in a Republican district in South Carolina (Trump won it by 13 points two years earlier), and, like Brindisi, The Fix has him on our list of top 10 House races most likely to flip.
What he’s saying about impeachment: as little as possible. Here’s what he told NPR’s Tim Mak in October:
Cunningham: I’ve been supportive of an investigation to get to the bottom of the facts. And, you know...Mak: Is there a distinction between an investigation to get to the bottom of the facts and an impeachment inquiry?Cunningham: Well, I mean, I guess I’ll leave it to other people to decide, like, what — you know, as to the details of that.
“People recognize that no one is above the law,” he told CQ Roll Call, also in October. “These allegations against the president are concerning, and a lot of people are deeply troubled by them. It’s just important that we get to the bottom of those, and wherever the facts go, the law must follow.”
3. Rep. Jared Golden (Maine): Golden, a Marine veteran, knocked off a Republican in rural Maine last year and became one of the state’s first big victors in ranked-choice voting. But his narrow win reflects his district’s conservative roots. He voted against Nancy Pelosi for House speaker, and he also once worked on Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins’s staff.
What he’s saying about impeachment: We originally had a quote in here about how Golden doesn’t think an impeachment inquiry can go forward until Congress divines the president’s intent, but his office called us to say Golden was referring to impeachment itself, not an inquiry. Golden feels like invoking the word “impeachment” is unhelpful and unnecessary to the investigation into the whistleblower complaint because it politicizes the investigation before lawmakers know what they’ll find.
After Trump’s acting chief of staff said there was the intent to hold up military aid for political purposes, Golden issued a statement saying he hadn’t changed his mind that he doesn’t support the impeachment inquiry. Somewhat perplexingly to us, he wants an investigation before the impeachment investigation. (His staff clarified he doesn’t think the whistleblower complaint is enough, on its face, to launch an inquiry. Congress had the Starr Report before launching one into President Clinton.)
4. Rep. Kendra Horn (Okla.): Horn sits in another district that Democrats flipped in an area that Trump won by double digits in 2016. Political analysts say Horn’s win in Oklahoma City was one of the biggest surprises for Democrats in all of 2018.
What she’s saying about impeachment: She stresses she didn’t support the impeachment inquiry to begin with, but “at this point, you know, the horse is out of the barn in terms of the investigation,” she told KGOU’s Capitol Insider in October. “But I think it’s important for us to have all the facts, and I will make a decision based on the facts and, I think, the investigation.”
5. Rep. Collin C. Peterson (Minn.): He has represented a rural Minnesota district for nearly three decades. But Trump won it by 30 percentage points in 2016, and Peterson could have a real Republican challenger for the first time in a while next year, including the state’s former lieutenant governor. So Peterson is being extra careful with his statements, at times sounding more like a Republican than a Democrat.
What he’s said about impeachment: “He has called the impeachment process futile, unnecessarily divisive and a bad use of Congress’ time,” reports the StarTribune.
6. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (N.J.): Even though he’s not one of the most endangered Democrats on this list, Van Drew has a conservative streak that matches the conservative New Jersey district he won in 2018. When he said in September that none of the evidence so far supports impeachment, Trump thanked him in a tweet.
What he’s saying about impeachment: For being such a vocal opponent to impeachment, he’s actually kind of okay with the inquiry itself. “All that’s swirling around us now is impeachment. We talk about it day and night. It’s what’s on the news. And frankly, I think it’s fine if they still want to continue to have the type of investigations they did to see if something new turns up,” he said in September after the whistleblower complaint was released.
But more recently, he’s saying stuff like this: “Everybody says, ‘Be on the right side of history’ — I think the right side of history is not to impeach,” he told NBC last week.