impeachment inquiry
A row of pro-impeachment signs appeared outside the House of Representatives office buildings near the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. (Addison Kliewer/Gaylord News.)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK5), who won a seat in Congress in an upset last November, sided with her party today in voting yes on a House Resolution that would continue the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

It marked the first time the congresswoman has taken a stance on the impeachment inquiry since it began in late September.

The resolution, which passed on a nearly-party-line vote, 232-196, will set rules for the impeachment inquiry as it moves out of closed doors and into a more public sphere.

Gaylord NewsThis story was reported by Gaylord News, a Washington reporting project of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.

“This was not a vote for impeachment. It was a vote for transparency. We all deserve that. The American public deserves that,” Horn said in an interview on Thursday.

All Republican House members from Oklahoma — Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4), Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK3), Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK2) and Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK1) — voted against the resolution.

Cole, the ranking member on the House Rules Committee, said in remarks on the House floor prior to Thursday’s vote that Republicans offered 17 amendments to the resolution during the bill’s markup, but not one was accepted.

“We can do better than that, madam speaker,” Cole said. “The Rules Committee should have done better than this, but since the Rules Committee didn’t, then the House must.”

Horn, however, said the current resolution would give more protections to the House minority, as well as to the president.

“Ultimately, this resolution did that,” she said. “It provides for a clear process for public hearings, and in terms of checks and balances and due process, provides more access and protections for the president than in any other circumstance like this.”

Inhofe: ‘The president, if you have noticed, has been wanting a vote’

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said Thursday’s vote was a masquerade, and, on paper, the resolution had nothing to do with impeachment and everything to do with procedure.

“The president, if you have noticed, has been wanting a vote,” said Inhofe. “So he is interested, as I am, in getting these liberal Democrats who are posing as Republicans to have to get on the record and vote.”

The resolution was expected to pass along party lines, and it is the first time any vote has been taken surrounding the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

The vote came just hours after Horn released a statement explaining how she planned to vote on the resolution. Prior to Thursday, she was one of only a few Democrats in the nation who had not publicly voiced support for an impeachment inquiry.

Mullin, who has represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013, was quick to respond to Horn’s statement.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too. The vote says you support the sham process to impeach our president. It is very much a vote for impeachment,” Mullin tweeted in response to Horn’s claim that the vote on the resolution was not a vote for impeachment.

Mullin and Hern were two of the Republicans who attempted to enter the closed impeachment hearings last week, but were turned away. While the resolution will bring the impeachment hearings from behind closed doors to the public, not one Republican in the House voted for the bill, seeing it as coinciding with a vote on impeachment.

Horn reiterated several times that voting yes on the resolution does not mean she supports impeachment.

“It was very clearly not a vote for impeachment, and it doesn’t matter how much somebody says it was — it wasn’t,” Horn said.

Projecting toward 2020

During the 2016 presidential election, Trump won Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District by 13.4 percentage points. Horn beat Republican incumbent Steve Russell in this same district with 50.7 percent of the vote, according to FiveThirtyEight.

“We pulled off in Oklahoma, and the 5th Congressional District, the biggest upset in the entire country. When I started running, no one — all the way up until the end — no one thought we could do this,” said Horn.

Since Horn was elected to Congress in 2018, eight Republicans have announced their intent to challenge her in the 2020 election, making Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District seat one of the most competitive in the nation.

“She’s truly in a no-win situation,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Bob Salera. He said the Democratic Party’s move to impeach has “sealed her fate as a one-term congresswoman.”

However, Horn outraised Republicans hoping to obtain her seat during this year’s third fundraising quarter, according to the Federal Elections Commission. Horn raised $524,733 during the quarter while the next-highest-raising candidate, Terry Neese, raised $203,999.

“I’m a fifth generation Oklahoman. And I didn’t get into this for partisan politics,” Horn said. “I didn’t get in it for petty reasons, but because Oklahomans need a voice. They need someone who’s going to listen and carefully consider the issues and show up everyday and fight for them, and that’s what I’m doing, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

(Correction: This story was updated at 8:23 a.m. Friday, Nov. 1, to remove a statement about FEC filings and again at 11 a.m. to correct reference to CD 5. NonDoc regrets the errors.)

Addison Kliewer is a champion equestrian and a member of the Chickasaw Nation. She hails from Cordell, Oklahoma, and is a student at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Sarah Beth Guevara is a graduate student in the Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma after obtaining her undergraduate degree from the same institution. She is part of the Facebook Journalism Project and part of the POLITICO Journalism Institute of 2020. She was previously a multimedia journalist with KSWO in Lawton, Oklahoma, and interned with the Enid News & Eagle. She is from Magnolia, Arkansas.