Republican Senator Richard Burr faces possible censorship in North Carolina after voting to convict Donald Trump, making him the last GOP lawmaker to face a backlash after breaking up with the former president.
Republican officials in North Carolina said the state party’s central committee would meet on Monday evening to discuss Burr’s vote to find Trump guilty of inciting insurgency.
Burr was one of seven Republican senators who voted against the president following his senatorial trial at week-end. His colleague Bill Cassidy of Louisiana has previously been censored by his state party, which said it had “condemned” his vote declaring Trump guilty of instigating the Jan.6 siege on the U.S. Capitol that left five dead.
Trump was acquitted because the U.S. constitution says the conviction requires the support of two-thirds of the Senate’s 100 members. Fifty-seven senators found Trump guilty after a five-day trial, while 43 voted not guilty.
The result – in which more lawmakers voted against a president of their own party than in any impeachment lawsuit in US history – revealed deep divisions within the Republican Party, as lawmakers. Wrestle on how to move forward now that Trump is no longer in the White House.
Republican agents are at war over whether to field right-wing candidates, backing Trump in next year’s midterm election, or to back more GOP centrist hopefuls in a bid to win back the moderate Republicans and independents who dropped out of the party at the polls last November.
Burr and Cassidy joined Susan Collins from Maine, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, Mitt Romney from Utah, Ben Sasse from Nebraska and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania to vote to convict the president this weekend. Burr’s vote came as a surprise to many in Washington, given he had been less publicly critical of the president than many of his colleagues.
Burr, who was last re-elected in 2016, has long said he will not stand for re-election midterm next year, when Republicans seek to regain control of the House of Representatives and of the Senate.
An ABC News-Ipsos poll released on Monday found that 58% of Americans believed Trump should have been convicted in his Senate trial. But while 88% of Democrats and 64% of Independents said the former president should have been convicted, only 14% of Republicans said Trump should have been convicted.
Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina and a fierce ally of Trump, said at the weekend that Burr’s impeachment vote paved the way for Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, to run for her seat in the Senate next year. Trump supporters argue the impeachment result has ignited the former president’s supporter base and will motivate them to participate in the primaries to nominate candidates for the midterms.
“My dear friend Richard Burr. . . just made Lara Trump almost a certain candidate for the Senate seat in North Carolina to replace her, ”Graham told Fox News on Sunday. “She represents the future of the Republican Party.”
North Carolina is one of the few key states in which previous elections have been won with narrow margins and where Republicans and Democrats are expected to devote resources to trying to win seats in 2022.
The Senate races in Pennsylvania, where Toomey is not seeking reelection, and Georgia, where Democrat Raphael Warnock will seek to defend the seat he won in a special election last month, are also likely to be hotly contested.
Donald Trump has not ruled out running for president again in 2024, although he faces several criminal investigations, including an investigation into the finances of the Trump organization in Manhattan and one into its efforts to interfere in the presidential election in Georgia.