Third Republican who voted to impeach Trump retires

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Representative John Katko, a moderate Republican from central New York, announced his intention to retire on Friday, further underscoring the political price paid by Republicans who broke with former President Donald Trump.

Katko, who faced a primary challenge from Andrew McCarthy, a more pro-Trump Republican, is the third of 10 Republican U.S. House members who voted to impeach Trump after the U.S. Capitol rioted on January 6, 2021, to announce its intention to withdraw.

Katko, a four-term incumbent and former federal prosecutor, was also expected to run for office in a less Republican district drawn by New York’s Democratic-dominated state legislature. The legislature has not yet approved the new limits.

“After 32 years of public service, I have decided not to run for Congress, so that I can enjoy my family and my life in a more complete and current way,” Katko said in a statement.

McCarthy, a self-described “America First” Republican and intelligence analyst at an Air Force base in Rome, New York, criticized Katko’s decision to resign rather than face him in a primary.

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“That’s a shame [Katko] leave his people,” he tweeted on Friday. “I promise to fight to the death and not let you down.”

McCarthy, who is running on a nationalist platform that combines tough immigration restrictions with plans like a public health insurance option, does not yet have the backing of the biggest names in the Trump universe, not to mention Trump himself.

His tweet on Friday drew praise from former Trump adviser Steve Cortes, who called McCarthy’s offer “fantastic.”

In addition to facing a challenge from Republican Andrew McCarthy, Rep. John Katko (RN.Y.) could also have faced a tough re-election battle against a Democrat in November. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/The New Zealand Times)

Although he represented a Syracuse-area district won by both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and President Joe Biden in 2020, Katko survived fiery efforts by National Democrats to unseat him in 2018 and 2020.

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He succeeded by combining standard conservative positions – unlike some other New York Republicans, he voted for Trump’s Tax Cuts Bill — with the occasional votes that broke with GOP orthodoxy. He voted vs Trump’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and for Biden bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Likewise, while Katko stayed with Trump during the House Impeachment Vote 2019, he broken with the former president after the Capitol attack last year.

“Letting the President of the United States instigate this inconsequential attack is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said. said in a press release following his vote. “For this reason, I cannot sit idly by.”

Katko then joined 34 other House Republicans in voting to convene a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.

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It’s unclear how much of the political backlash Katko suffered from fellow Republicans for voting to impeach Trump played into his decision to retire. In addition to the main challenge, the Onondaga County branch of the New York Conservative Party, which often backs Republican candidates, had announced in April that it would not support Katko this time around.

The symbolism is nevertheless unmistakable. Among the small group of Republicans who turned on Trump after the Capitol riot, Representatives Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio) and Adam Kinzinger (Illinois) have also already announced their intention to step down.

Gonzalez, who announced his decision in November, was facing a main challenge of Trump-backed Republican Max Miller.

And Kinzinger, who revealed his plans to retire in October, faced a challenge from pro-Trump Republican Catalina Lauf. The Democrats’ decision to drag him into an intra-district contest with fellow Illinois Republican Darin LaHood was likely equally pivotal in his decision to retire.

This article originally appeared on The New Zealand Times and has been updated.

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