Dems' risky bet: Aid GOP extremists in spring, hoping to beat them in fall

“I realize that this type of political gamesmanship has existed forever, but our country is in a very different place now than we were in previous cycles,” said Representative Kathleen Rice, Democrat of New York. “For these Democratic groups to throw money at raising up a person who they know wants to tear down this democracy is outrageous.”

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Republican targets asked how they were supposed to buck their leadership and take difficult votes if their erstwhile allies in the Democratic Party are lying in wait.

“I voted the way I voted because I thought it was important,” Mr. Valadao said of his impeachment vote. “But to put us in a spot where we’re voting for these things and then try to use it as ammo against us in the campaigns, and put people that they potentially see as a threat to democracy in a position where they can become members of Congress, it tells me that they’re not serious about governing.”

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