The Weekender (1/15/21)


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

Let’s get started.

Virginia: The VA GOP primary is turning out to be a bigger train wreck than anyone could have imagined. Two more GOP candidates entered the race, all but ensuring the convention will be a brutal competition to prove who is the most conservative, and state Sen. Amanda Chase renewed her threat to run as an independent should she feel cheated out of the nomination. Chase also preemptively accused the VA GOP of cheating for the second time, threatening to “call them out” if they “cheat.” If Chase doesn’t get her way, she won’t go out quietly.

New Jersey: Former NJ GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt announced that he is exiting the New Jersey governor’s race – but that still leaves two Republican candidates who have fully embraced Donald Trump’s divisive agenda. Both Hirsh Singh and Jack Ciattarelli are Trump loyalists who have supported his disastrous policies. In responding to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Ciattarelli echoed President Trump’s comments after Charlottesville, saying leaders from “both parties” share responsibility for the attack and “no one is innocent here.”

After Entertaining Trump’s Election Lies, Mike Shirkey Criticizes FBI For Warning Against Armed Protests At State Capitols

Following the violent attack at the U.S. Capitol building last week, the FBI is warning that Trump supporters are plotting armed protests at all 50 state capitols. The Michigan Advance reported that state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey downplayed the credible threats of violence during a radio interview, saying the FBI’s warning “hurts my heart” [00:54], and isn’t “necessary” [01:02].

Shirkey also questioned the Michigan state police’s recommendation to build a fence around the state capitol building to guard against violent protests.

Shirkey thinks he knows better than law enforcement – even after sharing the stage at an anti-COVID-19 safety measures rally with one of the men later charged with attempting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

In addition to palling around with conspiracy theorists and kidnappers, Shirkey has egged on the violence against politicians, saying in May: “Sometimes politicians get it backward. That’s when these groups need to stand up and test that assertion of authority by the government. We need you now more than ever.”

Shirkey also made light of the attempt to kidnap Gov. Whitmer, entertained Trump’s attempts to overturn the election by attending a White House meeting, and refused to support banning guns at the Michigan state house following armed protests which are now being seen as trial runs for the deadly Capitol attack.

North Carolina Gov. Cooper and Michigan Gov. Whitmer Discuss How Their Leadership in Divided States Can Be A Roadmap for Biden to Unite the Country

The challenges facing the Biden-Harris administration are like nothing any president-elect has faced since the Great Depression. A global pandemic has wrought havoc on our economy and our health, and the American people seem more divided than ever.

For a roadmap on how to tackle these tough issues and unite the nation, the incoming administration should look no further than Democratic governors in red and purple states, like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who have managed to succeed in exceedingly difficult terrain.

Gov. Whitmer and Gov. Cooper spoke to Politico recently about building coalitions and working across the aisle to get things done, as well as what it will take to heal the country after Trump and the pandemic. Both governors agreed that while it can be challenging at times, it’s important to keep open lines of communication with lawmakers and focus on “dinner-table” issues that appeal to the majority of Americans.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on CNN Newsroom, talking about his state’s vaccine rollout and President-elect Biden’s plan for vaccinations, and MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily, discussing the UK COVID-19 strain.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on CNBC’s Squawk Box, discussing how his state is preparing for potential violence at the state capitol on inauguration day. Gov. Murphy says our country needs “steady, calm leadership” and a peaceful transition of power.

“This new year and this new term as governor is more than just turning the page of a calendar. The lessons we’ve all learned must usher in a new era, an era where we can acknowledge and work around our differences while refusing to sacrifice truth and facts at the altar of ideology.”

“When you try to blame the president or blame somebody else, you know, my understanding is the president told them not to commit any crimes.”

Who said it? Send your answer to and we’ll reveal the answer in the next Weekender!

If you guessed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week, you were right! DeSantis berated a journalist for asking questions about his administration’s vaccine rollout.