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O’Halleran joins ranks of impeachment inquiry supporters

By: - September 30, 2019 4:04 pm

U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Sedona. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Every Arizona Democratic member of Congress now supports the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump for abusing the power of the presidency to benefit his re-election campaign.

In a statement Sept. 26, Rep. Tom O’Halleran, a Sedona Democrat who represents the state’s most competitive district, acknowledged that he was among the 225 congressional Democrats who approve of the inquiry, which was formally launched two days earlier.

He came around to that stance after the unclassified version of the whistleblower complaint that the Trump administration withheld from Congress – in apparent defiance of federal law – was made public, following a unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate calling on the administration to release the document.

“The whistleblower complaint released today demonstrates that we must pursue this official inquiry and promptly complete the investigation so that Congress has all of the facts. My vote on this matter will be based on the evidence gathered during the inquiry process,” O’Halleran said in a written statement.

On Sept. 24, the day that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formal impeachment inquiry, O’Halleran avoided using the word “impeachment” and made it clear he wanted existing investigations by U.S. House committees to proceed. 

The next day, after the White House released a rough transcript of part of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is a core component of the whistleblower complaint, O’Halleran issued a statement acknowledging Pelosi’s creation of “a formal inquiry process” to investigate Trump’s actions, but stopping short of supporting the process – or even saying the word “impeachment.” 

O’Halleran’s district has long been the most competitive in Arizona. Although Democrats have a registration advantage over Republicans – about 36.7% to 31.5% – and moderate Democrats like O’Halleran and Ann Kirkpatrick have won elections, the 1st Congressional District has supported GOP presidential nominees the last two elections.

In 2012, Mitt Romney won 50% of the vote to Barack Obama’s 48%. In 2016, Trump edged out Hillary Clinton 48% to 47%.

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Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations.