Kendra Horn impeachment decision
Democrat Kendra Horn answers a question Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, during a debate for Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District. (Michael Duncan)

U.S. Congresswoman Kendra Horn (D-OK5) released a statement this morning indicating she will vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

“It is with a heavy heart, but with clarity of conviction that I have made my decision. The oath I took to protect and defend the Constitution requires a vote for impeachment,” Horn said in her release. “This is not a decision I came to lightly, but I must do my part to ensure our democracy remains strong.”

Horn had previously told Gaylord News reporters that she wanted to be “thoughtful” in her decision.

“I came to Congress to fight for Oklahomans and to find common ground by uniting lawmakers around bipartisan solutions — this is exactly what I’ve done and will continue to do. I did not come to Congress seeking impeachment, nor do I agree with the extreme voices on either side,” Horn said in Tuesday’s release. “I am disappointed in lawmakers on the right and left who pre-judged the outcome of this investigation, whether they condemned the president before hearing all the facts or attempted to derail the process rather than improve it.”

In her statement, Horn said she did not want to allow “a dangerous precedent,” apparently referencing Trump’s controversial conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Our founders put in place checks and balances between three co-equal branches of government to ensure that no one is above the law. Allowing one branch or president to ignore our laws and Constitution would set a dangerous precedent,” Horn said. “The articles of impeachment before us allege an abuse of power and an obstruction of Congress. Inviting foreign interference in our elections strikes at the heart of our democracy, threatens our national security, and is an abuse of power. It is never acceptable for any president, regardless of party, to ask a foreign country to put their finger on the scale of our democracy.”

Horn was first elected in November 2018, upsetting incumbent Republican Steve Russell and turning the 5th Congressional District blue for the first time in decades.

“The president obstructed Congress by withholding evidence, refusing to comply with lawful subpoenas, and prohibiting administration officials from doing so as well,” Horn said in her release. “Protecting and defending our Constitution is about preserving our democracy and systems for generations to come. We cannot allow any president of either party to abuse the power of their office or to obstruct Congress. Therefore, we must act to protect our Constitution, the integrity of our elections, and our national security.”

Oklahoma Republicans expected to oppose impeachment vote

Oklahoma’s other four congressmen — all Republicans — are expected to oppose the impeachment vote, which has been scheduled for Wednesday, according to NPR. The publication has also posted the two articles of impeachment for the public to read.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4) released a statement Dec. 10 after the articles of impeachment were announced.

“It is not lost on me that shortly after Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi announced articles of impeachment, she immediately switched gears to take credit for USMCA, which was negotiated by President Trump and actually benefits the American people,” Cole said in his statement. “After weeks of impeachment hearings, the truth is that Democrats have failed to prove their case or convince the American people that the wasted time was worth it. There are no grounds here to impeach the president, and I will be voting accordingly.”

U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK2) tweeted Dec. 13 that Trump “has not committed a single impeachable offense.”

Cole delivered remarks about the impeachment process during this morning’s House Rules Committee meeting. The committee’s ranking member, Cole called the situation “sad.”

“This is indeed a sad day — for me personally, for the Rules Committee, for the institution of the House and for the American people,” Cole said. “We are meeting today on a rule for considering articles of impeachment against the sitting President of the United States on the floor of the House of Representatives. But this is not the result of a fair process – and certainly not a bipartisan one. Sadly, the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry has been flawed and partisan from day one. So I guess it should come as no surprise that the Democrats’ preordained outcome is also flawed and partisan.”

Kendra Horn 2020 challengers respond

Shortly after Horn made her announcement, Oklahoma State Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-OKC) released a statement chiding the first-term congresswoman.

“Kendra Horn’s decision to impeach President Trump is no surprise,” Bice said. “Horn has voted lockstep with Nancy Pelosi and the far-left House Democrats in Washington since her first vote. The charade is over.”

Fellow GOP challenger and businesswoman Terry Neese also released a statement about Horn.

“Kendra Horn spent her week in the district hearing from hundreds of constituents who hoped she would stand up to Nancy Pelosi and put their interests first like she promised — and then she promptly returned to Washington to stab them in the back,” Neese said. “Working families in the 5th (Congressional) District deserve so much more than a radical congresswoman who has voted with Nancy Pelosi 88 percent of the time, who will vote for impeachment, and who has worked with her party to hijack our democracy and the will of millions of American voters.”

Janet Barresi, a former state superintendent of public instruction, is also seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Horn.

“Kendra Horn’s vote to overturn the 2016 election, less than a year before the 2020 election, is proof that her promise to be an independent voice for Oklahoma voters was nothing more than political hot air,” Barresi said in a statement. “Sadly, Kendra has decided to put the political interests of the national Democratic Party and California liberal Nancy Pelosi ahead of the interest of the hard-working voters of the 5th (Congressional) District.”

David Hill, another Republican seeking his party’s nomination to challenge Horn, released a statement Tuesday afternoon as well.

“Kendra Horn has turned her back on Oklahoma,” Hill said. “She promised to be independent, but her vote for impeachment shows that she’s just another partisan politician. President Trump has done nothing to deserve this. The liberals in Congress are running roughshod over our constitution.”

Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District has been rated as one of the closest 2020 races worth watching by national political publications.

(Update: This story was updated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, to include a quote from Bice and further comments from Cole. It was updated again at 11:45 a.m. to include quotes from Neese and Barresi. It was updated at 5:25 p.m. to include a comment from Hill.)