Impeachment managers all represent safe Democratic seats

GOP faces steep challenge to oust prosecutors of Trump

Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Wednesday news conference to announce the House impeachment managers: from left, Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia R. Garcia, Jerrold Nadler, Adam B. Schiff, Val B. Demings, Zoe Lofgren and Jason Crow. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call photo)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Wednesday news conference to announce the House impeachment managers: from left, Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia R. Garcia, Jerrold Nadler, Adam B. Schiff, Val B. Demings, Zoe Lofgren and Jason Crow. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call photo)
Posted January 15, 2020 at 11:59am

Speaker Nancy Pelosi went with Democrats from politically safe districts to prosecute the impeachment case against President Donald Trump in the Senate.

All seven impeachment managers named Wednesday are in races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Solid Democratic. Many of their Republican challengers haven’t even raised any money yet. That could change given these Democrats’ new, high-profile role, but the fundamentals of their races would have to shift significantly to make a difference in the outcome.

Republicans have signaled they’ll try to use impeachment against all House Democrats in the 2020 elections, especially the 30 who represent districts Trump carried in 2016. And although some of those vulnerable Democrats were out front on impeachment, including some of the so-called national security freshmen who called for opening an inquiry last fall, it’s not surprising that Democrats in competitive seats are not leading the public legal charge against the president.

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While Democrats in safe seats take the lead on impeachment, those in competitive races have signaled that their focus on the campaign trail will remain the kitchen table issues they think helped them flip seats in the 2018 midterms.

Here’s who will be managing the trial:

Jason Crow, Colorado

Notable: Army veteran; Armed Services Committee member; one of the seven freshmen Democrats with national security experience who wrote a Washington Post op-ed backing the impeachment inquiry.

6th District: Denver suburbs, including Aurora.

First elected: 2018

Before Congress: lawyer

2018 election: Crow won a first term, unseating Republican incumbent Mike Coffman by 11 points.

2020 race: Crow is a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program for vulnerable lawmakers, but his reelection is not expected to be competitive given the seat had been trending blue. Hillary Clinton carried the 6th District by 9 points in 2016. Former state GOP chairman Steve House had raised the most of Crow’s Republican challengers as of Sept. 30, ending the third quarter with $191,000 on hand. But Crow has a sizable financial advantage, with $1.1 million in the bank at the close of September.

Val B. Demings, Florida

Notable: Member of both the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees; first non-lawyer to be a House impeachment manager.

10th District: Created after court-mandated redistricting in 2016, which changed the seat from Republican-leaning to very Democratic. Includes about 60 percent of the voting-age population of Orange County, plus residential and business areas in Orlando.

First elected: 2016

Before Congress: Law enforcement officer, Orlando police chief

2018 election: Uncontested

2020 race: Demings faces Republican businessman and Marine Corps veteran Kirk Troen. Troen has lamented Washington’s partisan politics and said he would be more accessible than the incumbent when he announced his campaign in June. But the race is heavily skewed in Demings’ favor. While she narrowly lost her first bid for the seat in 2012, when the district was more Republican, she won her first term in 2016 with nearly two-thirds of the vote. The district also backed Clinton by 27 points that year. Demings also has a substantial fundraising advantage. As of Sept. 30, she had raised $255,000. Troen has raised $27,000 as of Dec. 31.

Sylvia R. Garcia, Texas

Notable: Member of the Judiciary and Financial Services committees; one of the first two Latinas elected to Congress from Texas.

29th District: Parts of Houston and its eastern suburbs.

First elected: 2018

Before Congress: lawyer; served in the Texas state Senate and as a judge in Harris County and Houston. 

2018 election: Garcia won a first term by 51 points.

2020 race: Two Republicans have filed with the Federal Election Commission to take on Garcia, but they face a steep uphill battle given the Democratic lean of the district. Clinton won the seat by 46 points in 2016.

Hakeem Jeffries, New York

Notable: Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; member of the Judiciary Committee.

8th District: Parts of Brooklyn and western Queens. 

First elected: 2012

Before Congress: Lawyer; served in New York State Assembly.

2018 election: Jeffries won a fourth term by 89 points over an opponent who ran on the Conservative Party line. 

2020 race: In such a Democratic district, Jeffries faces more of a threat in a primary than a general election. New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated former Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley in a 2018 primary, had reportedly been recruiting someone to challenge Jeffries, but Ocasio-Cortez has denied the reports. So far just one Democrat has filed with the FEC to take on Jeffries. He has not reported any fundraising.

Zoe Lofgren, California

Notable: Member of the Judiciary Committee; only House Democrat who was on Capitol Hill during the two recent presidential impeachment efforts (she was a Judiciary staffer during President’s Richard Nixon’s impeachment and a House member during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment)

19th District: Santa Clara County, including most of San Jose.

First elected: 1994

Before Congress: Served on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

2018 election: Lofgren won a 13th term by 48 points.

2020 race: Four candidates — one Democrat, two Republicans and one not associated with a party — are taking on Lofgren in the March 3 primary. In California, all candidates, regardless of party, run in the primary, with the the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election. None of her challengers had raised more than $100 as of Sept. 30, when Lofgren had $1.4 million on hand. Any Republican would have a tough time winning this district, which Clinton won by 51 points in 2016.

Jerrold Nadler, New York

Notable: Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

10th District: West Side of Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn.

First elected: 1992

Before Congress: Member of New York State Assembly.

2018 election: Nadler won a 14th term by 64 points.

2020 race: Nadler’s most pressing concern is the primary, where several Democrats are challenging him. Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and former advertising executive Holly Lynch had both raised more than $500,000 as of Sept. 30. Jonathan Herzog, a former campaign staffer for presidential candidate Andrew Yang, is also running. Nadler was unopposed in his 2018 primary. Lynch had sought to challenge Nadler that year but failed to qualify for the ballot.

Adam B. Schiff, California

Notable: Chairman of the Intelligence Committee; the Republican Schiff beat to get to Congress, Rep. James E. Rogan, was an impeachment manager in 1999.

28th District: Los Angeles suburbs

First elected: 2000

Before Congress: Served in the California State Senate; worked as an assistant U.S. attorney.

2018 election: Schiff won a 10th term by 57 points.

2020 race: Schiff likely won’t have a competitive race, but he has proven to be a prolific fundraiser. As of Sept. 30, he had raised $4.4 million, surpassing even Pelosi. Four Democrats, two Republicans and one candidate not associated with a party are on the ballot to take on Schiff in the state’s March 3 primary. GOP lawyer Eric Early has been trying to leverage Schiff’s national profile to fundraise. He had brought in just $81,000 as of Sept. 30. Early faces a steep uphill battle if he advances to the general election since the district is heavily Democratic. Clinton carried it by 50 points in 2016.

Paul V. Fontelo and Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.