This story was updated on Jan. 18
Bob Graham knows what an impeachment does to a senator's life.
When the former senator from Florida was serving in Congress, an average day meant about eight to 10 hours for committee meetings, working on legislation and just dealing with the business of the day.
But when President Bill Clinton was impeached at the end of 1998, Graham's days shifted dramatically. Gone was any work that wasn't tied explicitly to the impeachment trial. Graham, 83, describes that time as a “serious responsibility” – days filled with work that was not so easily left at the office.
“I think anybody who has a job that requires a significant amount of intensity to properly carry out doesn't leave work at the office, it's there all the time,” Graham told USA TODAY. “That would be particularly true during something as personal as an impeachment trial.”
Senators are the jurors in a president's impeachment trial, and what Graham dealt with 30 years ago is again front and center with the recent impeachment of President Donald Trump.
But this time around, there's an additional complicating factor: Four of Trump's jurors are also running for president.
Sens. Michael Bennet, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will have to take precious time away from the 2020 campaign trail to participate in a Senate impeachment trial that by all accounts could last weeks.
"Being stuck in Washington is not ideal," said Matt Bennett, the executive vice president of public affairs for Third Way, a center-left think tank. "The biggest problem is that the first two states (Iowa and New Hampshire) are highly retail in their focus and voters expect to be able to actually see these candidates in person."
Senators were sworn in Thursday for the trial and arguments will begin Tuesday, keeping several presidential hopefuls off the campaign trail at a critical time with the Iowa caucus scheduled for Feb. 3 followed by the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11.
What the senators' plans are
The senator-candidates have all vowed to be in D.C. for the impeachment trial.
“There are some things that are more important than politics, and if we have an impeachment proceeding going on, I will be there,” Warren told reporters last month in Rochester, New Hampshire.
When asked whether she’s worried it will hurt her campaign, Warren responded, “This is not about politics.”
“Impeachment is something I take very seriously. I take no joy in this. But this is about a constitutional oath that every single member of the Senate took to — uphold the Constitution of the United States."
To keep her message out on the campaign trail when she can't be, Klobuchar in early December said that she will deploy surrogates to help her campaign while she is in D.C. for her “constitutional duty.”
“I have the most endorsements of electeds and former electeds of any candidate, any of them in Iowa,” she said during an interview on "The View" last month. “And that includes a number of people, including a former Republican legislator who changed parties last spring, because he said he could not stomach it anymore.
“So those people are going to be my surrogates,” she added. “My husband loves to campaign. My daughter loves to campaign; she's pretty good at it.”
Shannon Beckham, national press secretary for Bennet, said the Colorado senator’s “duties, and his responsibility to uphold the Constitution and rule of law, come before any campaign.”
“Every chance he gets, he will be on the campaign trail talking to early state voters,” Beckham added. Bennet, who is focusing more on the New Hampshire primary over the Iowa caucuses, is holding 50 town halls between December and the New Hampshire primary, his campaign said.
Contributing: Shelby Fleig of the Des Moines Register
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Election 2020 and impeachment collide for Democrat senators campaigning