June 26, 2020

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Latest News, Weekender

The Weekender (6/26/20)

Welcome to the Democratic Governors Association’s Friday newsletter, The Weekender.

Let’s get started.

Montana: While Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney launched “Women for Cooney”, a group highlighting women’s economic and healthcare issues at stake this election, GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte’s anti-women record is coming under attack. Over the past few weeks, Montanans have admonished Gianforte for missing more votes in Congress than 93% of his peers, including critical votes protecting victims of domestic violence, healthcare, and even providing necessary funding for the Centers for Disease Control.

Indiana: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Woody Myers unveiled a criminal justice reform plan that seeks to end police brutality, increase oversight, and decriminalize marijuana. Myers, who would be Indiana’s first Black governor, released this proposal as protests continued across the country against police brutality and racism. Myers’ plan emphasizes intersectional approaches to public safety and addresses concerns surrounding policing and criminal justice in Indiana. 

“No Different Than the Flu”: Gov. Mike Parson Bucks Responsibility for COVID-19, Likens Virus To The Flu Or Car Wrecks

At a press conference, GOP Missouri Gov. Mike Parson refused to take responsibility for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, likened the virus to the flu or a car wreck, and harassed a reporter, all in one minute.

When asked whether he takes responsibility for the virus’s toll on Missouri after he chose to reopen the state, Parson, who has been preaching “personal responsibility”, responded: ”That’s no different than the flu virus or do I feel guilty because we have car accidents and people die every day? No, I don’t feel guilty about that.” He then went on to berate the reporter.

A lot to unpack there – but Parson’s lack of compassion for suffering Missourians is nothing new. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Parson has doubled down on blocking Medicaid expansion, placing partisanship above public health.

Also getting old? Parson’s confusing and misleading statements on the virus. In addition to promoting the widely debunked theory that COVID-19 is the equivalent of the seasonal flu, Parson previously announced the virus will “be around several more months” and a vaccine will be “out before the fall.”

Parson offered this prognosis at the end of the briefing: “I think we’re fine.” For some reason, we don’t find that very comforting.

Dem Govs Will Play Key Role in 2020 Presidential Race

Democratic governors represent a sharp contrast to President Trump in their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Trump administration fumbled its response and refused to implement a national strategy, Democratic governors have led their states with clear communication, science, and data – and as a result, their approval ratings and name recognition have skyrocketed. McClatchy DC highlighted how Democratic governors’ heightened popularity will play an important role in the upcoming presidential election.

Since 2016, the DGA has won elections nine times in states Trump won. A focus on kitchen table issues such as healthcare, education, and jobs helped Democratic governors score key victories in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and North Carolina, as well as Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Maine.

Another reason why the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign might look to Democratic governors? Democratic governors represent 288 electoral votes, and Biden only needs 270 of those to win.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, discussing the specifics of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey’s new quarantine policy.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Cheddar, describing why she “hit a pause button” on her state’s reopening after a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo on CNBC’s Mad Money, discussing how partnerships with her state’s innovative private sector resulted in the highest testing per capita in the country.

“We have to acknowledge our history, that’s true, but we can acknowledge our history without elevating a phrase that’s so deeply associated with the ugliest time in our state and in our country’s history.”

“Dance party USA.”

Who said it? Send your answer to press@dga.net and we’ll reveal the answer in the next Weekender!

If you guessed GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week, you were right! Even as the state set records for daily cases and hospitalizations, Abbot downplayed the COVID-19 pandemic, telling Texans, “there is no reason right now to be alarmed.”