The Weekender (1/8/21)


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

Before we begin, we would like to congratulate Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo on being selected to lead the U.S. Department of Commerce under President-elect Joe Biden. President-elect Biden’s decision speaks to the leadership of Democratic governors before and during this pandemic, and the progress being made in their states.

Democratic governors across the country look forward to working with Gov. Raimondo in her new role to help America safely recover from the pandemic and build an economy that works for everyone.

Let’s get started.

Virginia: During a radio interview over the holidays, state Sen. Amanda Chase hinted that she plans to follow in her idol Donald Trump’s footsteps and accuse the Virginia GOP of cheating if she doesn’t win the Republican nomination for governor, saying, “I will tell you this: if there’s no cheating involved, I do believe that I would win a convention.” [15:40] Chase has long been salty over the VA GOP’s decision to hold a convention rather than a primary, which Chase views as an attempt to block her from winning the nomination. With her recent comments accusing the state party of cheating only adding fuel to the fire, Chase has basically guaranteed GOP infighting leading up to the convention, at the convention, and likely for months after.

New Jersey: The New Jersey GOP gubernatorial primary is off to a heated start. The candidates are wasting no time going negative, all but ensuring a lengthy, chaotic fight for the nomination. Over the holidays, former NJ GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt let loose on his opponent, taking shots at Jack Ciattarelli’s close ties to lobbyists and his record on guns. Ciattarelli, meanwhile, took a swing of his own in a release, calling Steinhardt a “swamp creature” for bypassing the state’s pay-to-play laws.  It’s clear neither Steinhardt nor Ciattarelli are planning to let up on their negative attacks anytime soon.

GOP Rings In New Year With Recruitment Fail As “Dream Candidate” Candice Miller Announces She Will Not Run for Michigan Governor in 2022

The Michigan GOP is ringing in the new year with a huge recruitment fail – “dream candidate” Candice Miller announced she will not run for governor in 2022. A longtime GOP strategist called Miller’s decision “a big disappointment for party leadership” – the RGA must be devastated.

This loss doesn’t bode well for the RGA’s chances in 2022 – Miller’s announcement means the race will likely be wide open, with Republicans scrambling to recruit viable candidates and facing a very expensive, competitive primary.

Other names floated include RNC Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who has openly supported Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of a democratic election, and former U.S. Senate candidate John James, who was already rejected twice by Michiganders and notably said he supports Donald Trump “2,000 percent.” Republicans’ choices look bleak, and it’s clear whoever runs, the primary will be a race to the right to win over Trump’s radical base.

Regardless of who Republicans nominate, Michiganders already know they’ve got a good thing going. A December poll from the Detroit Regional Chamber showed the majority of Michiganders support Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic, reflecting her strong leadership and clear communication during the COVID-19 crisis.

Democratic Governors Condemn Insurrection at Capitol, Call On Republican Colleagues To Do the Same

This week, a group of domestic terrorists led an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, spurred on by President Trump and Republicans who have embraced Trump’s violent rhetoric and spread anti-democratic conspiracies.

For far too long, Republicans have enabled Trump and refused to condemn his inappropriate behavior because they benefited politically. While Democratic governors spoke out against yesterday’s Republican-led attempts to undermine the election, many Republican governors remained silent as members of Congress objected to certifying Biden’s electoral victory.

It must stop – Republican governors need to speak out against the Republican-led attempts to reverse the results of our free and fair election and prevent a peaceful transfer of power. Our democracy depends on it.

Every Democratic governor spoke out against the violence at the capitol, and the Republican-led efforts that inspired the terrorists.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on MSNBC’s MTP Daily, discussing how she warned President Trump and Vice President Pence months ago about potential political violence. Gov. Whitmer dealt with armed protestors at the Michigan statehouse last summer, and received serious kidnapping threats.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on CNBC’s Closing Bell, explaining the challenges of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, and what his state is doing successfully with vaccine distribution.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on MSNBC’s MTP Daily, discussing the new COVID variant that was found in Colorado.

“Rhode Island may be small, but our economy is mighty on the strength of our small businesses and innovative technologies. As Secretary of Commerce, I will harness that same American ingenuity to create good-paying union jobs and build our economy back better than ever before.”

“You’re gonna ask how many questions? You get three? [The other reporters] got one question, why do you get three?”

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

If you guessed New Jersey GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli last week, you were right! Ciattarelli has flip flopped on his support of Trump through the years – criticizing Trump when it was politically convenient, but now headlining “Stop the Steal” rallies as he tries to court Trump’s base in the GOP primary.