The Weekender (1/29/21)


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

Let’s get started.

Virginia: Amanda Chase acolyte Pete Snyder entered the chaotic VA GOP nomination fight this week. Snyder is an out-of-touch, right wing political hack who is known for saying things like “in some cases it’s actually better to be uninsured than to be on Medicaid.” Former House Speaker Kirk Cox thought he was going to have a clear path to the GOP nomination – but history has shown the more candidates that enter the race, the more powerful extremist candidates like Chase and Snyder become in a convention. Snyder and Chase are already outspending and outraising their opponents. Snyder purchased airtime on Fox News on day one of his campaign, and so far, Chase has posted bigger fundraising numbers than the other candidates.

New Jersey: NJ GOP candidate Jack Ciattarelli announced this week that he supports ending New Jersey’s scheduled minimum wage increases. As governor, Ciattarelli would end higher wages for working families in the middle of a pandemic. This out-of-touch, extreme position is emblematic of Ciattarelli’s entire campaign – he’s embraced Donald Trump’s radical agenda and is out-of-step with New Jerseyans. Last week, Ciattarelli proclaimed that he voted for Donald Trump because he believes the Trump agenda has “been good for America.” In reality, the Trump administration’s policies have been a complete disaster, for America and for New Jersey.

Mike Shirkey Doubles Down on Lies About Militia Meeting

During a radio interview, Michigan Senate Majority Leader and friend to would-be kidnappers Mike Shirkey doubled down on the lies he’s spreading about a troubling meeting he held with local militia groups. In an effort to salvage what’s left of his reputation, Shirkey said the state police were in the militia meeting with him, a fact the police have denied.

Shirkey also called the verifiably true claims that he palled around with militia groups “character assassination.”

Last week, a report detailed how Shirkey advised three militia groups, saying he gave them advice on “how they could improve their message.” Just a month after the meeting, a group of men with known ties to militia groups were arrested for planning to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, put her on trial, and execute her. Shirkey also appeared at a rally with a militia member later charged with attempting to kidnap the governor. And when militia groups attacked the U.S. Capitol Building, Shirkey came to their defense, saying “I don’t know if you’ve ever been around mobs before but it’s easy to get caught up.”

Wisconsin’s Republican Gerrymandering Stifles Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ Pandemic Response

According to a new story by NBC, Wisconsin Republicans are using their out-sized power, delivered by gerrymandered districts, to undercut Gov. Tony Evers’ COVID-19 response, blocking his mask mandate and suing to strike down common sense safety measures. Wisconsin has one of the most gerrymandered state legislature maps in the country – an advantage that gave Republicans the majority of seats across the state despite losing the majority of votes. 

Republicans in Wisconsin have politicized the virus, and prevented the governor from implementing life-saving measures. The impact of Republicans’ actions has been felt especially hard in Black and Latino communities. State health officials said at one point that Milwaukee County’s Black residents were “six times more likely to die” from COVID-19 than white residents.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes described the situation as “shameful,” saying “it seemed like [Republicans] could care less.”

In 2021, Wisconsin will begin the process of redistricting, and Gov. Evers already has a plan for that. Gov. Evers signed an executive order last January creating a nonpartisan commission tasked with redrawing the state’s legislative maps. The public can then compare the commission’s maps to the current, Republican-drawn maps to see whether or not they are being represented fairly.

Evers’ proposal is an extremely popular one – over 70 percent of Wisconsinites support having an independent committee draw legislative maps

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin, discussing President Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan and what he believes is needed to move forward through the pandemic.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on CNN’s New Day, responding to President Biden’s plan to increase the supply of vaccines, saying “it’s a big step in the right direction.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on CNBC’s Squawk Box, explaining his state’s vaccine distribution plan and the need for economic relief.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront, discussing how President Biden’s vaccine plan is more steady and predictable than the previous administration’s strategy.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, discussing how to combat misinformation about climate change. He says, “This is a nation ready to take off in a clean energy revolution. This is perfect for the United States.”

“Let’s fix the damn road ahead.”

“She looked delightful.”

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

If you guessed South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem last week, you were right! Noem said “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” expressing her opposition to providing food to struggling students during a pandemic. Apparently, she would rather people starve.