When Donald Trump was impeached early last year for his role in the Jan. 6 attack, it was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in American history. Against a backdrop in which Republicans seemed eager to move on from their failed, defeated president, 10 GOP House members voted with the Democratic majority in favor of the impeachment resolution.
Since then, as regular readers know, the partisan winds have shifted — against the Impeachment 10.
Before the primary season even began in earnest, four members of the contingent — Ohio’s Anthony Gonzalez, New York’s John Katko, Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger, and Michigan’s Fred Upton — announced their retirements. Last month, Rep. Tom Rice was crushed in a South Carolina primary, losing by more than 26 points to a Republican primary rival who insisted that the 2020 election was “rigged.” (It was not rigged.) Last week, a sixth member of the faction, Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, also lost in a GOP primary.
Last night, the Impeachment 10 lost a seventh member. NBC News reported:
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Washington Republican who voted to impeach Donald Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 riot, conceded Tuesday to a challenger backed by the former president.... Beutler conceded her race Tuesday night in a statement that did not mention [Trump-endorsed Republican Joe Kent] by name.
Herrera Beutler’s national profile rose last year, not just because of her impeachment vote, but also because of what she reportedly learned during the Jan. 6 attack. As regular readers may recall, the congresswoman spoke to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy about the riot and heard him say that Trump told him, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election theft than you are.”
Soon after, the former president set out to end her career, hoping to defeat a key Jan. 6 witness.
As of last night, we now know that he succeeded. Relatively moderate GOP lawmakers are an endangered species on Capitol Hill. Herrera Beutler representing one of the more competitive districts in the Pacific northwest, probably qualifies for the label, at least by contemporary standards.
And at least for now, her career has been derailed by her own party’s primary voters.
That’s important in its own right, but just as notable is who Republican voters in Washington’s 3rd congressional district preferred in this primary race. The Associated Press recently took a closer look at the Trump-backed candidate with “connections to right-wing extremists, including a campaign consultant who was a member of the Proud Boys.”
Republican Joe Kent, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state in the Aug. 2 primary, has also courted prominent white nationalists and posed recently for a photograph with a media personality who has previously described Adolf Hitler as a “complicated historical figure” who “many people misunderstand.” ... [T]aken broadly, Kent’s recent relationships and activities reinforce concerns about the GOP’s ties to extremist groups.
The AP quoted Dave Neiwert, an author and journalist who has covered right-wing extremism in the Pacific Northwest for decades, saying, “There’s a through line. Many (Republican) politicians play footsie with it. Kent is just unabashed.”