The Weekender (1/28/22)


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

Let’s get started.

Wisconsin: Failed Republican Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson announced his candidacy for governor this week and he’s already on a crash course with his own party after attacking the state Republican Party leader in front of a crowd. Nicholson “made clear on Saturday he’s planning to run an insurgent campaign” at a Manitowoc County Republican event — slamming the GOP as a “broken machine” and threatening to oust the party leader if elected. “At least four Republican lawmakers were standing in the room as Nicholson criticized them as being ‘bought and paid for’ by Kleefisch,” the Journal Sentinel reported. The attacks came amidst a brewing GOP civil war involving some of Wisconsin’s most prominent Republicans. Last week, Nicholson traded insults with Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos when Vos demanded Nicholson not run against Kleefisch. Even top Republican donors are torn on which side to take. Dick Uihlein is backing Nicholson, even after his wife, Liz Uihlein, maxed out in donations to Kleefisch.
Ohio: Mike DeWine’s chances at reelection are looking slimmer and slimmer, with yet another poll showing him losing to GOP primary challenger and failed-Senate candidate Jim Renacci. The new poll shows Renacci beating DeWine 46-38. The poll also shows DeWine failing with GOP primary voters, with 52% viewing him unfavorably, including 33% who have a very unfavorable view of the incumbent governor. This comes as a new report from Politico outlines the “intra-party rebellion” DeWine is battling and how “relations with his own changing party have been challenging at times.” With months to go until the election, the GOP primary is getting more chaotic and more expensive every day. Renacci just announced he gave another $4 million of his own money to his campaign. Meanwhile, outside groups backing DeWine know he’s deeply vulnerable and have been forced to spend hundreds and thousands on early ads.

Daily Beast Highlights “GOP’s Anti-Governor Revolt of 2022”
The Daily Beast reported this week that Republican governors across the nation are at risk as they face primary challengers from the right and battle for the support of Donald Trump. “Months away from their primary contests in this 2022 midterm election, a number of Republican governors nationwide are under siege,” the Daily Beast wrote.The article highlights several GOP governors facing significant threats to reelection, including Govs. Brad Little, Mike DeWine, and Brian Kemp— all of whom face challengers either angling for or already with Trump’s backing. “That is a testament to Trump’s ironclad hold on the GOP for a fourth election cycle,” the article reads. “Indeed, his endorsement means as much as ever, and his singular ability to turn conservative darlings into enemies overnight is the wildcard in every Republican primary nationwide.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Delivers “Big Win for Michigan” — Historic GM Investment Creating 4,000 Jobs
General Motors made the “single largest investment announcement in GM history” thanks to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s leadership and bipartisan economic plan to attract new plants. GM will invest a historic $7 billion across the state, including a new battery cell plant, and create 4,000 jobs to make Michigan the “hub” of electric vehicle manufacturing. The game-changing economic investments will also convert a factory to make electric pickup trucks. In addition to creating 4,000 jobs, it will retain 1,000 others.The Detroit Free Press calls the investment “a big win for Michigan” and reports that ​​GM CEO Mary Barra said the investment would not have been possible without support from Gov. Whitmer. “GM is doubling down on their commitment to make it in Michigan,” Gov. Whitmer said at the announcement event. “These investments will build on GM’s enormous presence in Michigan.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on CNN with Brianna Keilar discussing COVID education policy and keeping schools open.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on CNN with Fredricka Whitfield talking about voting rights and supporting educators.
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell highlighting the failures of Gov. Greg Abbott.

“Maine people value the outdoors and each of these projects represents an exceptional opportunity to preserve working land, expand opportunities for outdoor recreation, protect important deer habitat, and ensure public access for the enjoyment of future generations.”

  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills during her historic announcement of five new land conservation projects to be included under the Land for Maine’s Future program.

“I think that he won a lot more states than we know last time around.”
Who said it? Send your answer to, and we’ll reveal the answer in the next Weekender!
If you guessed Robin Vos last time, you were right! When word started spreading around about Kevin Nicholson running for governor, the Republican leader of the Wisconsin State Assembly had a few choice words. Nicholson responded in a tweet stating, “How about you focus on doing your job?”