September 19, 2023
Written by Sydney Beckham
In January 2021, articles of impeachment against President Trump were brought to the House floor and voted on following the January 6th insurrection. Only ten House Republicans voted yes, siding with the Democrats, the minority party at the time. Out of the ten Republicans who voted to impeach, only two remain in office to date: Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and David Valadao (CA-22). Four of the pro-impeachment Republicans did not run for re-election in 2022: Fred Upton (MI-06), Anthony Gonzalez (OH-06), John Katko (NY-24), and Adam Kinzinger (IL-16).
The four remaining House Republicans, Liz Cheney (WY-AL), Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Tom Rice (SC-07), and Peter Meijer (MI-03) would each go on to lose their primary elections in the 2022 Midterms to Trump-endorsed candidates. In all four districts, the incumbent outspent their opponents significantly.
Liz Cheney first took office in 2016 and was an avid Trump supporter throughout her years in Congress. Following January 6th, Cheney rebuked Trump publicly and would eventually become vice chair on the House select committee investigating January 6th, which dwindled her support from Republican voters.
Wyoming’s At-Large Congressional primary saw a total of $6M in ad spending, with nearly half of spending coming from Cheney’s own campaign. Cheney also received $150K in support from the issue group Defending Freedom and Democracy.
Four Republican groups spent a combined total of $1.3M in ads opposing Cheney throughout the primary. Cheney was the only one out of the pro-impeachment Republicans to attract Republican issue group spending against her. Harriet Hageman, Cheney’s Trump-endorsed opponent, spent $1.1M on ads. Hageman also received $320K in ad support from Club for Growth. In a state where Trump won with 70% of the vote in 2020, Hageman received over 66% of the primary vote while Cheney only received 29%. Hageman would also go on to win the general election by a landslide last November.
Jamie Herrera Beutler represented Washington’s 3rd Congressional District for twelve years before losing in the 2022 primary to Joe Kent, a pro-Trump candidate with an “America First” agenda. The Republican primary saw $5.8M in ad spending. Herrera Beutler’s campaign spent $1.92M for her re-election bid, but received little help from issue groups. While Republican group Winning for Women Action Fund spent nearly $2M on ads against Joe Kent, they did not endorse a candidate in the primary. Kent’s ad spending was minimal in the primary election with $650K. Kent narrowly clinched the GOP primary nomination and defeated the 12 year incumbent, but would lose in the general election.
Tom Rice lost his House seat in the primary to Russel Fry after serving five terms in Congress. Ad spending from Republicans in the primary was relatively low with a total of $2M. Rice’s campaign was the biggest spender with just under $1M, while Fry spent $580K. The only outside groups to spend for Rice were the Grand Strand Pee Dee PAC and Republican Accountability Project, which spent a combined $258K. Fry received no spending support from outside groups. Fry won the primary convincingly and handedly won the general in November.
In Michigan’s third Congressional District, Peter Meijer, a one-term Congressman, lost to John Gibbs in the primary election. There was a huge gap in ad spending, as Meijer saw $2.5M in total ad support while Gibbs only saw $30K. Five groups spent a combined $2M in ads supporting Meijer and his campaign spent $500K. No issue groups spent on ads supporting Gibbs, and 73% of his spending went towards digital ads on Facebook. Gibbs won the primary, receiving 51.8% of the vote, but lost to Hillary Scholten in the general.
As of 9/19/2023, the two pro-impeachment Republicans still in the House, Newhouse and Valadao, have not attracted any primary spending yet.