Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey’s Second were the only two Democrats to vote against Thursday’s resolution that formalizes the next steps in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Not a single Republican voted to pass the measure, although Rep. Justin Amash, a member of the GOP until he reclassified as an independent in July, voted yes. The resolution passed by a vote of 232-196.
Peterson’s district along the western edge of Minnesota went to Trump in the 2016 presidential election by 31 points and is considered a 2020 toss-up by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. Peterson was first elected to Congress in 1990 and is currently the chair of the House Agriculture Committee. He drew scrutiny last year when he was one of five Democrats who voted against ending the United States’ support of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. When asked about the vote, Peterson told a reporter, “I don’t know a damn thing about it.”
“If anyone thinks a partisan impeachment process would constrain President Trump, they are fooling themselves,” Peterson said in a statement last month. “Without significant bipartisan support, impeachment proceedings will be a lengthy and divisive action with no resolution.”
Following the vote, Peterson issued a statement in which he said moving forward with impeachment was a mistake without the support of Senate Republicans.
Peterson has not yet committed to running for reelection, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that his longtime allies expect him to seek a 16th term. He won by just 4 percent last year, down from a 26 percent margin of victory in 2012. The Trump campaign has been outspoken in its belief that the president can win Minnesota, where he lost by just 1.5 points in 2016. However, a recent poll showed him losing there to four different Democratic options by at least 9 points.
Van Drew is a freshman, a former New Jersey state senator who was elected to represent the southern part of the Garden State last year. Trump won the Second District by 5 points in 2016, 1 point below his margin of victory in the Third District of Rep. Andy Kim, who voted yes on the resolution.
“All that’s swirling around us now is impeachment,” said Van Drew in a Fox News interview last month. “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. There is nothing that’s turned up that truly is impeachable.”
In September, Trump thanked Van Drew via Twitter for his skepticism regarding impeachment.
After Thursday’s vote, Van Drew issued a statement in which he said, “However, now that a vote has taken place and we are moving forward, I will be making a judgment call based on all the evidence presented by these investigations.”
Along with Peterson and Van Drew, Democratic Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Anthony Brindisi of New York all voiced skepticism about supporting an impeachment inquiry, but all ended up voting yes.
Read more from Yahoo News: