Congressman Ron Kind, national man of mystery

He's now just one of 14 Democrats who have not taken a stand on impeachment

Ron Kind with Paul Ryan and marines from Wisconsin
US Rep. Ron Kind with Speaker Paul Ryan and marines from Wisconsin (Speaker's photos Wikimedia)

Democrats have 235 members in the House and 221 of them have publicly stated they support an impeachment inquiry into the actions of President Donald Trump. 

The numbers of Democrats in support climbed since a whistleblower reported that the president asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, while the U.S. withheld millions of dollars in military aid from Ukraine.

U.S. Democratic Reps. Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan have expressed strong support for an impeachment inquiry. They have both been on board for awhile. But Rep. Ron Kind, the other Democratic congressperson from Wisconsin, has yet to take a stance.

Many national news organizations, for example, The New York Times and Newsweek, are keeping a check list of which members of congress support impeachment. The column of uncommitted Democrats keeps getting smaller and smaller since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the party was initiating an official impeachment inquiry on Tuesday.  

Thursday it shrunk to just 14 Democratic representatives who have either not commented or not decided. According to reporting in The Hill, 12 of the 14 are from districts that Trump won in 2016. Among them is Kind (D-La Crosse). Newsweek reports that many of the 14 are “Frontline Democrats,” freshmen from swing districts who may have flipped a Trump district and helped Democrats retake the House last year. This, obviously, does not apply to Kind, who has represented western Wisconsin’s 3rd congressional district for more than 20 years.

On Tuesday, Kind gave a statement to local media saying only that he supports further investigation: “The reports of a whistleblower complaint alleging that the president actively coerced a foreign government to meddle in our election are extremely concerning. The administration must hand over the whistleblower report, as required by law, so Congress can investigate these claims as part of its constitutional duties. As a former special prosecutor, I know no one is above the law — not even the president.”

For the record, in October of 1998, Kind supported a formal impeachment inquiry into Democratic President Bill Clinton. 

Kind has been silent on Twitter since Sept. 18 when he posted photos from a visit with young farmers. There are more recent posts on his Facebook account, but none on impeachment. In fact they have not been political. (Don’t bother checking his YouTube channel or his Flickr page.)

FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver’s statistics-driven news site, publishes a feature it calls ‘Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump,’ tallying House and Senate members’ votes compared to the president’s positions. Kind, known as a moderate, has only voted with Trump 4.4% of the time in the current session, and was at 31% in the previous 115th Congress.

It takes 218 votes in the House to impeach Trump and 67 votes in the Senate, controlled by Republicans, to convict him. So Kind’s stance matters little in terms of vote counts. But as one of just 14 holdouts, many eyes are on the congressman from Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District. 

Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.

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