By Jim EllisApril 20, 2021 — The 10 House Republicans who voted for ex-President Trump’s second impeachment have drawn national media attention, and the newly disclosed first quarter campaign finance numbers give us a sense of which incumbents have a significant challenge ahead of them while others look ahead to clear sailing.
To refresh memories, the 10 GOP impeachment supporters are: Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Liz Cheney (R-WY), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), John Katko (R-NY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Tom Rice (R-SC), Fred Upton (R-MI), and David Valadao (R-CA). Of these, all have declared opposition with the exception of Rep. Katko.
Based upon fundraising, which is an excellent indication of a candidate’s early support and whether the contender is making the right moves to position him or herself properly against an incumbent, we see two members, and possibly a third, who appear to have capable opponents.
Ohio’s Max Miller, the former Trump White House aide, is the top fundraiser among the nine challenger contests. He reports more than $500,000 in receipts with just over $438,000 remaining in his campaign account for a battle with two-term incumbent Rep. Gonzalez. For his part, the congressman raised well over $600,000 in the first quarter and his cash-on-hand exceeds $1 million.
The other seemingly significant contender is technology executive and Army veteran Joe Kent who is challenging six-term Washington Rep. Beutler. He raised over $269,000 as compared to the congresswoman’s $744,755. On hand, Kent has almost all his money remaining having spent only about a net $20,000 at this early point in time. Washington has a jungle primary, so the chances of qualifying two Republicans for the general election or Rep. Beutler not advancing are scenarios currently difficult to fathom.
The leading incumbent fundraiser of the group is House Republican Conference chair Cheney, who posted campaign receipts of more than $1.5 million, and holding well over $1.4 million in her campaign account. Combined, her top two Republican opponents raised a total of more than $500,000 and would have over $320,000 cash-on-hand if they would coalesce behind just one candidate. A crowded field, especially in light of her strong 1st quarter fundraising performance, puts Rep. Cheney in a favorable position for renomination even though support to replace her is clearly significant.
The Illinois crowded field against Rep. Kinzinger also plays to his advantage. Of his six announced opponents, only community affairs consultant and previous congressional candidate Cynthia Lauf has attracted more than $150,000. With Rep. Kinzinger holding over $2.5 million in his campaign account and no single strong opponent emerging means the congressman remains in advantageous position for renomination.
The only one of the group who may not benefit from having multiple challengers is South Carolina’s Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach). Horry County School Board chairman Ken Richardson appears to be the most formidable of the possible opponents, raising over $154,000 with just under $90,000 remaining in the bank.
State Rep. William Bailey (R-Little River) was thought to be a top challenger, but he has yet to report raising any money. With a large field forming against him, Rice could be in danger of being forced to a runoff. Doing so for any southern incumbent, more often than not, tends to spell defeat in a one-on-one secondary election battle.
Those drawing opponents but seeing very little money raised against them in the first quarter are Reps. Meijer, Newhouse, and Upton. Seeing Washington State House Assistant Minority Whip Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) raising no money for what was thought to be a strong challenge to Rep. Newhouse is one of the bigger surprises of the campaign finance disclosure period.
Rep. Valadao, who is also in a jungle primary situation, has little to fear from a Republican opponent. Though he has not even filed a 2022 campaign committee, former Rep. T.J. Cox (D) who defeated Mr. Valadao in 2018 but lost to him in November, is expected to seek a re-match.
Below is a chart depicting the 10 incumbents and their key opponents’ monetary figures:
|5 OTHER REPUBLICANS||$0||$0|
|2 OTHER REPUBLICANS||$0||$0|
|6 OTHER REPUBLICANS||$0||$0|
|WA||3||BEUTLER, JAIME H.||R||$744,755||$736,124|
|ST. JOHN, HEIDI||R||$130,877||$118,887|