Army Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, arrives at a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
Photo: Alex Wong/TNS
Photo: Alex Wong/TNS

The Jolt: The swing states that are more wary of impeachment, removal

This morning, a Republican friend sent us a link to a Politico.com article that tells of U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, a Democrat who says he probably won’t vote for the resolution his party intends to put up Thursday to formalize an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Notes Politico:

Van Drew, who narrowly defeated his GOP rival in 2018 in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, has openly criticized impeachment, saying it would further divide the country and put members of his party at risk in the 2020 elections.

Nationwide polls of voters have, in fact, showed support for both impeachment and removal of Trump inching upward. But it may be more practical to think of the issue in the more practical terms of 2020, the electoral college, and control of the U.S. Senate.

A new survey of voters in swing states, which also arrived this morning, gives a more nuanced picture of voter sentiment. From the press release:

By 52-44 percent, voters across six battleground states oppose impeaching and removing President Donald Trump from office according to a new The New York Times Upshot/Siena College (SCRI) poll of registered voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

But, by 52-44 percent, voters across the six states support the impeachment inquiry being conducted by the House of Representatives.

A majority of voters in each state - between 51 and 53 percent - oppose impeaching and removing Trump from office, but in each state, either a plurality (49-44 percent in Florida) or a majority supports the House inquiry.

Across the battleground states, voters think that the President's comments and actions related to Ukraine and investigating former Vice President Joe Biden are typical of what politicians do (47 percent) rather than much worse than that of typical politicians (43 percent).

***

The Associated Press reports that Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed was spotted on the White House driveway around noon Tuesday after meeting with President Trump and two dozen other religious leaders in the West Wing's Roosevelt Room.

Reed told Newsmax reporter John Gizzi that the meeting was about "matters of common interest."

***

Over at Georgia Health News, Andy Miller reports that the rate of uninsured children is inching up:

The state in 2018 had an uninsured rate among children of 8.1 percent, up from 6.7 percent two years before. Only Tennessee’s rise of 1.5 percentage points was a greater increase in the U.S. over that time.

An estimated 217,000 Georgia children were without medical coverage last year, said the report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. Georgia’s rate of children without coverage is fifth-highest in the nation.

***

Gov. Brian Kemp’s close ties with the famous Dooley clan in Athens has been on display these last few weeks.

This fall, the governor helped engineer the move that renamed the playing field at the University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium in honor of Vince Dooley, the legendary former football coach. 

In the past few weeks, he appointed Dooley’s son Daniel - a childhood friend - and his wife Suzanne to separate state panels. Daniel Dooley will sit on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission while Suzanne is on the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services Board. 

***

The Gwinnett County GOP’s headquarters is at the Gwinnett Place Mall. So is the county Democratic party. That can make for some strained political moments. 

That’s apparently what happened when two GOP board members - described as a white woman and a black man - sat on a bench outside the headquarters when three Democrats walked by.

Gwinnett GOP chair Edward Muldrow, who is African-American, picks up the story here in a Facebook post:

The three black women commented, “there are Trump supporters in this place. Can you believe that? Who are these people?” Our two board members replied, “We are right here.” At that moment the black women responded, “WOW! RASCIST SCUMBAGS!”

There was much, much more, but you get the drift.

***

The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly last night, 403 to 16, to impose sanctions on Turkey for its recent invasion of northern Syria. Three of the 16 'no' votes came from Georgia Republicans: Drew Ferguson of West Point, Barry Loudermilk of Cassville and Rick Allen of Evans. 

Loudermilk said that while Turkey should be held accountable for its actions in Syria and partnership with Russia, it's "premature to pass legislative sanctions while the President is actively negotiating with the actors in that region."

"The events over the past several days have proven that the situation in Syria is very fluid, with many moving parts. I don’t think it is wise to move forward with legislation that could tie the hands of the President, especially when we have troops on the ground in Syria," he said. 

We've yet to hear back from Allen or Ferguson. 

Both Loudermilk and Allen voted against a House resolution last week rebuking the White House for withdrawing American forces from northern Syria and calling on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “immediately cease unilateral military action.”

***

In a vote that was emotionally related: Every Georgia member of the U.S. House voted last night to formally recognize the Armenian genocide that was carried out in 1915 by the Ottoman Turks. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians in what many scholars argue was a precursor to the Holocaust that would decimate Jews before and during World War II.

Passage of the resolution has been attempted for decades. Until now, the Turkish government had successfully lobbied against it. The final House vote was 405-11.

***

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is slated to consider legislation today from retiring U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, that aims to reunited Korean-American families who were separated after the Korean War. 

***

Speaking of Rob Woodall, he’ll be in the only Georgian in the room this afternoon as the House Rules Committee debates the resolution that would formalize Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The full House is scheduled to vote on the measure Thursday. 

***

The Brunswick News says salvagers are considering the construction of a cofferdam – a water-tight steel wall -- around the shipwrecked Golden Ray in St. Simons Sound, where the 656-foot vessel foundered on Sept. 8.

***

Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order late Tuesday ordering flags flown at half-staff on Thursday and Friday to honor Leroy Johnson, the former state senator who died last week. 

The order also said that, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Johnson’s body will lie in state at the Capitol, which he helped desegregate after his 1962 election.

Funeral services are scheduled for noon Friday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. The Rev. Raphael Warnock will officiate.

Johnson was the first African-American elected to the state Senate since Reconstruction. He is also credited with helping to revive the career of boxer Muhammad Ali in 1970, by arranging a fight in Atlanta when other cities were boycotting Ali for his religious-based refusal to register for the draft.

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