The conservative group Club for Growth is threatening to launch an ad campaign in Utah targeting freshman Democrat Ben McAdams over his stance on impeachment.
Club President David McIntosh told UtahPolicy.com McAdams promised voters he’d buck Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but his vote in favor of formalizing the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump shows that was an empty promise.
“In his first six months in Congress, McAdams voted with Pelosi 90% of the time," said McIntosh. “He’s not keeping his promise.”
Last week McAdams voted in favor of the Democratic-backed resolution to set the rules for a possible impeachment proceeding against President Trump, saying his vote was a step toward ensuring transparency on the issue.
The group has already begun running ads in the districts of House Democrats they view as vulnerable in 2020. McAdams certainly fits that bill. President Trump carried Utah’s 4th District in 2016, while McAdams won election in 2018 by fewer than 700 votes. The district is considered one of the most Republican in the nation, with a partisan lean of R+13.
During his campaign against Republican Mia Love, McAdams vowed not to vote for Nancy Pelosi to become speaker, a promise he made good on, casting his vote for Florida Democrat Stephanie Murphy earlier this year.
McAdams’ campaign manager Andrew Roberts brushed off the criticism.
“Ben is focused on making the right choice for the district and no amount of spending from Washington, D.C. political groups – from either party – will influence his decision,” he said.
President Trump is not popular in Utah, making impeachment a curious issue to attempt to use as a wedge to dampen McAdams's support in the district. Trump carried Utah with just 45.5% of the vote in 2016. His support that year was the lowest in the 4th District at just 39.1%. 56% of voters in McAdams’ district disapprove of Trump’s job performance while just 44% approve of him. Only 38% of voters in UT04 are ready to vote for Trump to have another term in the White House in 2020. But, 44% of 4th District voters say they’re opposed to impeaching President Trump, while 31% say there’s enough evidence to move forward with impeachment. 24% of voters in the district want Congress to continue investigating Trump.
McIntosh acknowledges rallying support for Trump in Utah may be a hard sell for voters.
“Voters in Utah may not see Trump favorably, but they also agree there should not be an impeachment,” he said. “Democrats are spending way too much time on this and not getting anything done on important issues like the economy or creating jobs.”
This would not be the first impeachment-related foray the Club for Growth has made into Utah. Last month the group launched digital ads calling Sen. Mitt Romney a “Democratic asset” who was “plotting to take down President Trump” with impeachment. Romney drew the ire of Trump supporters when he criticized the president’s apparent efforts to get foreign governments to dig up dirt on his domestic political rivals. McIntosh says they’re pleased with the apparent impact that the campaign had.
“We were pleased with the results. He (Romney) has stopped talking about impeachment and switched to other topics,” said McIntosh.
The group says they have not yet decided whether to include McAdams in a second wave of ads, but would likely make a move soon, maybe this week.