Republicans Who Backed Trump Impeachment Almost All Falter in Primaries

Last year, former President Donald Trump crossed the unique threshold of owning half of all presidential impeachments in United States history. Now, he’s out for vengeance in the GOP primary arena and largely winning.

So far, seven out of the 10 Republicans in the House who voted to impeach Trump will not return to Congress next year. Three of the seven lost a primary, while four opted to retire. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is the only member of the group whose primary fate is left outstanding. Her contest, which has been keenly eyed by Trump, is slated for Tuesday. Cheney is widely expected to lose.

Here is a look at how impeachment backers fared during the midterm elections thus far.

Defeated

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
For over a decade, Beutler managed to cling to her seat in the blue-leaning Evergreen State. She ultimately voted to impeach Trump during his second impeachment because she believed “President Trump acted against his oath of office” with his actions during the events that took place on Jan. 6.

Irked by her opposition, Trump gleefully threw his weight behind GOP primary challenger and Army veteran Joe Kent, who managed to edge her out by less than 1 percentage point in Washington’s open primary.

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI)
Meijer had been in Congress a meager two weeks when he bucked party lines with his vote to impeach Trump. During a contentious primary battle, Democratic Party operatives intervened and funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to boost Meijer’s opponent, John Gibbs, in hopes of procuring a more favorable general election race.

Trump endorsed Gibbs, who had worked in his administration and peddled claims that election malfeasance deprived Trump of victory in 2020. Meijer maintained he had no regrets for his impeachment vote despite his loss. Gibbs ousted Meijer by over 3 percentage points.

Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC)
In June, Rice became the first impeachment-backing Republican to fall during a primary, after getting trounced by South Carolina state Rep. Russell Fry, who enjoyed Trump’s backing. The outgoing congressman came up short of taking his race into a runoff after suffering a double-digit defeat in the solidly conservative district.

Retired

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH)
Dismayed by the state of the Republican Party and uneasy about the toll his congressional career had taken on his family, Gonzalez announced he would not pursue a third term in office last September. Trump had endorsed former aide Max Miller in the GOP race to unseat Gonzalez about two months after Gonzalez cast his defiant impeachment vote several months prior.

Rep. John Katko (R-NY)
Like Gonzalez, Katko similarly pinned his decision not to vie for a fifth term in office on his desire to spend more time with his family. A chaotic redistricting process had rendered his district much more conservative. Still, Katko was optimistic about his prospects of holding the seat had he chosen to run, contending he had a path to victory.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
Few in the lower chamber are more well-known for their open defiance of Trump than Kinzinger. As one of the two sole Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee, Kinzinger has not minced words about his disdain for the former president.

Redistricting set Kinzinger on a likely collision course with Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL), who was endorsed by Trump. Kinzinger announced his retirement within hours of Illinois’s new congressional map getting unveiled, closing out his six-term tenure in Congress. Following his retirement announcement, Kinzinger teased, “This isn’t the end of my political future but the beginning.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
A few months after backing the second impeachment of Trump, the longtime congressman announced his retirement, ending his congressional career that spanned over three decades. Generally regarded as a centrist Republican, Upton is the only current member of the House to have voted to impeach two presidents.

Upton cited redistricting concerns as the primary motive for his retirement rather than backlash stemming from his impeachment vote. Apportionment had swung his district sharply in favor of Democrats, dramatically dimming his chances of winning a general election.

Survived

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
While Beutler succumbed to her primary challenge earlier this month, Newhouse managed to prevail, staving off a crowded field of primary rivals. Trump backed Loren Culp, a former police chief in the race, but his backing wasn’t enough to get Culp across the finish line.

Despite grumblings from many corners of his party, Newhouse managed to snag a first-place finish in the open primary in Washington’s 4th Congressional District, even topping the leading Democrat, with whom he will face off in November.

Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)
In contrast to other impeachment-supporting Republicans, Trump did not endorse a primary rival to Valadao. Notably, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy threw his weight behind Valadao despite Trump insisting that the 10 House Republicans who backed impeachment needed to get booted from Congress.

Valadao is no stranger to a tough primary bout. His three-term tenure came to a screeching halt in 2018 when he was bested by former Rep. T.J. Cox (D-CA) in a general election race. He managed to stage a comeback in the 2020 election, winning a fourth term. He then voted to impeach Trump a day after being sworn into office.

Outstanding

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)
Alongside Kinzinger, Cheney has been one of the loudest Trump critics among the Republican ranks in the House. She serves as the vice chairwoman of the Jan. 6 committee and has long stood by her vote to impeach Trump. She is facing stiff competition from Trump-backed attorney Harriet Hageman during her primary next Tuesday and is trailing by double digits.

On the Senate side, seven Republicans voted to convict Trump — three of whom were up for election this cycle. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) retired, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) primary fate will be determined next week.

The four senators left outstanding are Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Ben Sasse (R-NE). Cassidy, Collins, and Sasse will face reelection in 2026, while Romney is on deck for 2024.