Two out of three of these people made a good decision for once! But why?
Two out of three of these people made a good decision for once! But why? U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

As you may have gathered by now, every single member of Washington's Congressional delegation except for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers voted to impeach the President for siccing his mob on the Capitol building and for pressuring Georgia's Secretary of State to "find" enough votes to throw him the election. (People aren't talking enough about that last reason, but it's in the freakin' Article! Read it for yourself! It's not that long!)

We know why the Democrats voted for impeachment, and Matt does a good job telling you why CMR stood with Trump even after the insurrection—and even after she decided to reverse her support for overthrowing the 2020 election. But the political reasons why Reps. Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler voted the way they did are a little more opaque.

Of course, they both offered statements for why they voted to impeach (here's JHB's statement, and here's Newhouse's). Both let Nancy Pelosi's team Tweet portions of those statements. JHB is slightly louder in her dissent than Newhouse. She was the first Congressional Republican in WA to come out the gate for impeachment, and she was also the only one who didn't sign the amicus brief challenging the vote in Pennsylvania.

We all know, as they more or less argue in their statements, that a strong commitment to conservative principles drove both of these lawmakers to do the right and obvious thing. Their commitment to Truth and Decency and Conservative Values is evident in the fact that JHB voted with Trump 80% of the time and Newhouse voted with him 90% of the time.

But to the extent that political calculation in any way entered into their decisions, redistricting may have played a part in that calculus, at least for JHB. According to a Democratic insider familiar with discussions about the redistricting process who requested anonymity to gossip, JHB's southwestern district might end up more competitive after the commission draws new lines this year.

Like all states, Washington enters its redistricting process this year. (If you need a primer, here's one from the Seattle Times.) The tl;dr is that Washington uses an independent commission to redraw the map. The commission is composed of two people picked by Republicans and two people picked by Democrats, plus a fifth member who those four people select as a chair. So while it's independent, politics is very much involved in the decision-making process here.

According to the population map, the western side of the state is overpopulated and the eastern side of the state is underpopulated. In order to bring the Congressional districts into balance, the operative argues, the commission will probably need to find more people to shove into the 4th Congressional District, which Newhouse represents. They will find those people either by scooping up the eastern part of the pretty competitive 8th Congressional District (Biden +7; Schrier +3.5), or the eastern part of the somewhat competitive 3rd Congressional District (Trump +4; JHB +13), which JHB represents.

If they scoop from the 3rd CD, then JHB loses some of her conservative vote and her races get harder. If they scoop from the eastern part of the 8th CD, then the 8th will be much safer, which might prompt the Republicans on the commission to look elsewhere for gains. They'd find those gains in the 3rd CD. One option is having the reliably blue 10th CD take some of Lewis County, which would drain a Republican stronghold from the 3rd.

JHB supported Trump in the 2020 elections, and in doing so she kicked more ass this year than she ever has before partly because Trump did better in the 3rd CD in 2020 than he did in 2016. (She even won the normally blue Clark County.) So the vote to impeach might lose her some GOP votes. But if her district gets more competitive after redistricting, then she can point to the impeachment vote as an example of her bipartisan bonafides, which might help her replace her losses on the far-right with moderates.

Given that some corporations are "pressing pause" on donations to Republicans who support the President's autogolpe, the impeachment vote might also help keep her big donors.

"She's much more a member of the Chamber of Commerce caucus than the sedition caucus," the Democratic operative said. "To the extent that she goes where the wind blows, when she can’t tell what the district will be like next year, it makes sense not to get crosswise with the special interests that have supported her."

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She might also have her eyes on other offices:

I have no idea how voting to impeach helps Newhouse's prospects. He'll remain in an extremely Trumpian district no matter what happens with redistricting. But maybe catching the bug taught him something about life, or maybe he wants to hang up the keys and score a lobbying job soon and so doesn't want to leave completely covered in Trump guts.