5:08 pm Jun. 28, 2012
While part of the New York delegation was walking out of the proceeding in protest, two upstate Democrats voted in favor of holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress this afternoon.
Kathy Hochul and Bill Owens, both of whom represent conservative upstate districts, were among 17 Democrats who joined with Republicans in supporting a resolution finding Holder in contempt of Congress for not cooperating with an investigation into a gun-sting operation.
The vote took on added significance when the National Rifle Association announced that it would be scoring lawmakers on their vote.
Gun rights have already been an issue in Hochul's district, which emerged from redistricting as one of the most conservative in the state. An (unsuccessful) primary challenger to the Republican nominee, Chris Collins, attempted to make the contest all about guns, painting the former county executive as an ally of N.R.A. opponent Michael Bloomberg and forcing Collins to disavow his short-lived support for one of the mayor's initiatives.
Despite the defectors, Democrats had unanimously approved of a planned walkout organized by the Congressional Black Caucus.
Nancy Pelosi offered limited cover to her marginal members earlier in the day.
“Some members will have to do what they have to do, whether is walk out, vote for, vote against, whatever it is,” she said, according to Politico. “But nobody should honor this process.”
In all, 109 Democrats were marked as not voting on the resolution.
Not coincidentally, Hochul and Owens are also the two members of the delegation who have already announced that they won't attend the Democratic National Convention in September.