Haywood County precinct Chief Judge Debbie Stamey interacts with David Cairnes as he presents a photo ID at the Canton Public Library to vote in the 2016 primary election. Voter ID is not required to vote in North Carolina. Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

In NC congressional District 11, incumbent Republican Mark Meadows has been vocal on his support for President Donald Trump during the impeachment proceedings.

In an opinion piece published on the Fox News website, Meadows lambasted the Democrats for proceeding with impeachment without the basis of fact or merit.

“It has been the Democrats’ single-minded goal this entire Congress. They are an angry mob seeking validation. An impeachment machine in search of a cause,” Meadows wrote in part. “But this effort to undermine the president will fail, just like their other attempts. Americans will see through it.”

The day after Trump was impeached by the House, Meadows announced late last month that he was retiring from Congress at the end of his term. The 11th Congressional District was recently redrawn by legislators. Meadows hinted at a role in the Trump administration, saying in his retirement statement, “My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning.”

The vacancy has resulted in a scramble for the territory from a crowded field of 19 candidates.

Democrat Gina Collias said she would have voted for both articles of impeachment, likening the impeachment process to an indictment from a grand jury.

“The direct testimony of the State Department and military officials, combined with the text derived from the president’s Ukraine call – and the president’s initial comments on the White House lawn – were troubling and require further investigation by the Senate. Certainly, no one is above the law,” Collias said.

Collias said she is concerned that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and other senators are working directly with the White House to defend Trump. “This is supposed to be a fact-finding endeavor with an impartial jury.”

Republican Jim Davis, five-term state senator from Western North Carolina, said the entire impeachment process has been a “charade.”

Had he been in the House of Representatives when the impeachment vote took place, Davis said, “I would have voted not to impeach because I haven’t seen any evidence of an impeachable offense. If anybody’s got any, I’d be interested in hearing it.

“It’s a political process, and they don’t have any evidence of impeachable offenses, and so they are making up charges.”

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. and Democrat Moe Davis said he would have voted in favor of impeachment because the evidence is “clear and overwhelming” that Trump pressured Ukraine to interfere in the upcoming election.

“You can’t stand with Donald J. Trump and with America. I’ve worked alongside true patriots from the FBI and CIA and I’ve sweated in chem gear training to defend against Russia. Trump and his GOP clan can have Putin. I choose America and all those who defend her,” Davis wrote to CPP.

The lone Libertarian in the race, Tracey DeBruhl, answered CPP’s questions about impeachment by condemning the process in the House and critiquing the role of Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Biden exposed himself by having a son getting paid foreign aid money here on a four-month campaigning tour,” DeBruhl wrote. “As a command officer and businessman, my first question would have been, ‘What’s he getting paid for here, when the job is over there?’”

“When I’m your congressman, my first question, (to which) I’m going to seek an answer from Nancy Pelosi, is why was she so willing to put our country through this embarrassment, yet not even willing to police her own Democrats?”

However, DeBruhl indicated that did not mean that he thinks the president is beyond being held accountable and threatened to violently shake the chief executive if voters send DeBruhl to Washington.

“Marine Corps 101: Integrity comes from holding our own accountable first, which is how we teach quality and get better,” DeBruhl said.

“So, in order to help us get there … we got things I’m trying to fix here first. And if Trump’s still there when it’s my turn and not acting right? He’ll be LSU purple from my shaking the Clemson orange off of him.”

Democrat Steve Woodsmall said there is “overwhelming evidence” in favor of impeachment and he would have voted “yes” without hesitation.

“I actually called for impeachment the day after the Mueller report was released and am frankly surprised that those findings were not included in the articles of impeachment,” Woodsmall told CPP. “I also believe the process is taking entirely too long, as every day that Trump is in office results in more damage done to this country.”

Other candidates in this race did not respond to requests for comment or did not have contact information available.

To return to the main impeachment article, please click here.

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Kate Martin is lead investigative reporter for Carolina Public Press. Email her at kmartin@carolinapublicpress.org.

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