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Morning News Update: GOP Governors are Having a Very, Very Bad Week

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It’s hard to have a worse week than GOP governors are having right now. Across the country, Republican governors are dealing with scandal, job loss, poor leadership, and political vulnerability. Just take a look at these stories. Ooof.

Trump’s coastal drilling plan put GOP governors in an awkward position, forcing them to seek an exemption similar to Florida’s: 

McClatchy: Trump creates political trouble for GOP coastal state governors

President Donald Trump created a political headache for Republican leaders of coastal states with his proposal last week to expand offshore oil and gas drilling. Now he’s causing even more chaos. After allowing Florida to opt out of the plan, Trump is now likely to receive a barrage of requests from GOP governors of other affected states who suddenly feel pressure to ask for exemptions, too.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is embroiled in a disturbing scandal over accusations that he blackmailed his mistress with naked photos. Other GOP governors are already being asked if they still support him:

Washington Post: Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens admits extramarital affair but denies reports he blackmailed woman with nude photo

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), responding to media reports, acknowledged Wednesday night that he was unfaithful to his wife “a few years ago” before being elected. But his lawyer denied sensational allegations aired by a local TV station that Greitens threatened to distribute naked photos he took of the woman with whom he was having a relationship if she ever said anything about it. 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan attempted to minimize 1,300 jobs and one of Maryland’s four Fortune 500 companies leaving Maryland with a tone deaf “it’s not the end of the world”:

Washington Post: Turnabout as fair play? Md. Democrats roast Hogan for ‘losing’ Discovery to New York.

“We’ve chased out a lot of these businesses,” Hogan said in May 2014, in a typical comment. “That would change on Day One in our administration.” What a difference it makes to hold office. When Discovery Communications announced Tuesday that it was moving its corporate headquarters from Silver Spring to New York — reducing the number of Fortune 500 companies based in Maryland from four to three — Hogan sounded considerably less alarmed… “but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the end of the world.” Those remarks instantly drew sharp criticism from state Democrats, who hope to oust Hogan from the governorship in November… The state Democratic Party said it was formally asking the governor’s office to make public documents showing what the Hogan administration did to try to retain Discovery. The party said Discovery’s departure marked the first time in more than two decades that a Fortune 500 company chose to move its headquarters from Maryland to another state.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is still under fire for his poor handling of a Legionnaires’ outbreak at a state run veterans home:

Chicago Tribune: More than 2 years after bacteria outbreak, Rauner proposes task force to figure out veterans home fixes

More than two years after Legionnaire’s disease killed a dozen residents at a state-run veterans home in Quincy, Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday said he would convene a task force to look at how to best overhaul the facility and prevent another outbreak. The move comes as the Republican faces intense criticism from lawmakers and opponents on both sides of the aisle about his administration’s response to the crisis, which first emerged in 2015 but has persisted, including the death of another veteran last year. 

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is taking heat for his long friendship and unwavering support for Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Ducey is already ducking questions about endorsing Arpaio’s Senate campaign:

The Arizona Republic: Doug Ducey’s new albatross – Joe Arpaio

Gov. Doug Ducey is gearing up for a reelection campaign, trying to appear cool and competent and not, you know, out there, and then, bam … Arpaio happened. Just what Ducey needs. Another yoke around his neck. Another millstone. Another albatross. It’s not like Ducey is unburdened as it is. The governor delivered an upbeat but unconvincing State of the State speech on Monday, trying hard to get the rest of us to forget about the lavish raises he gave his inner circle while tossing a few bread crumbs to teachers.

Georgia Republicans running for governor have reignited a contentious religious liberty debate. Gov. Nathan Deal has worried such legislation could jeopardize the state’s chances at landing businesses like Amazon’s second headquarters:

CNN: Amazon’s headquarters choice could say a lot about diversity in America

And, in Georgia, four of the leading Republican candidates for governor have pledged to sign a controversial religious freedom bill, expected to come up for a vote this year, that permits vendors to reject services or employment to LGBTQ people on the basis of religious liberty. Though Democrats may oppose the bill, it still stands a chance of passing if one of these candidates wins. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is facing sharp pushback against her latest proposed budget cuts:

The Gazette: Iowa chief justice warns insufficient resources ‘tear at fabric of justice’

“Ominous signs” are appearing in Iowa’s judicial system as insufficient resources “tear at the very fabric of our operation and mission,” Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady warned lawmakers Wednesday.

Globe Gazette: North Iowa Democrats find fault with governor’s proposed budget

North Iowa Democrats got together Wednesday to assess Gov. Kim Reynolds’ state-of-the-state address — and they were not impressed… Most of the concerns were about the Republican governor’s proposed budget cuts, particularly in education and in Department of Human Services funding.