© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Special coverage - NPR/WRVOStay up to date with the latest impeachment trial news from NPR and WRVO. [Note] Please refresh this page as it will be automatically updated daily throughout the duration of the trial.

How will Katko and Brindisi's impeachment votes affect their political futures?

Rep. John Katko
Facebook (file photo)

The House of Representative's impeachment vote not only has political consequences for President Donald Trump, but also for the those who supported and opposed it.

Grant Reeher, Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute and a professor of political science at Syracuse University, doesn't mince words about the significance of this moment for both central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who voted against impeachment, and Mohawk Valley Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), who voted to impeach.

"This is the most important vote that either of them are going to take during this Congress and probably throughout their entire career," Reeher said. "When the story of their term of service is being written, how they voted on this issue will be in the first couple of paragraphs."

Reeher says this moment is politically precarious for Katko and Brindisi given that each bills themselves as moderate and bipartisan. But the fact that the final vote to impeach Trump was so strictly along party lines tends to favor Republicans in the next election, according to Reeher.

"I think it does begin to make it feel, probably for a lot of voters, as a party exercise and an instance of just how deep the party conflict is," Reeher said. "I am not saying - and I want to be very clear about this - that that is the objective way to understand what is going on right now, that that is the accurate rendition of all of the facts of this situation. I am talking about how, I think, a lot of voters may end up perceiving it."

Reeher says Katko is also less vulnerable than Brindisi because he has been in office longer, which usually boosts one's reelection chances, and thus has a longer legislative record of reaching across the aisle.

But in order for both to win, they will need the independent and moderate voters who elected them the first time around. Reeher says how these two voted on impeachment will be a factor for those voters, but of equal weight will be whom the Democrats nominate for president.

"If there is at the top of the ticket for the Democrats a candidate that is going to scare off those people off, those are going to be the folks that they are going to need the most," He said. "I don’t think you're going to be able to make up the ground with the additional energizing that you are going to get on the left if it’s an [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren or a [Sen.] Bernie Sanders."

Finally, Reeher says the consequence of their votes may depend on what is learned, if anything, during the U.S. Senate's impeachment trial.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.