The Weekender (10/23/20)


Welcome to the Democratic Governors Association’s Friday newsletter, The Weekender. Only one more Weekender until Election Day!

Let’s get started.

Missouri: Inside Elections downgraded the GOP advantage in the Missouri governor’s race citing Democratic nominee Nicole Galloway’s strong fundraising and polls showing Galloway has closed the gap with Gov. Mike Parson. Galloway also released a new ad hitting Parson for kicking 100,000 children off their health insurance. With the pandemic worsening in the state, Missourians need a leader committed to expanding health care coverage, not working to block it.

Montana: The Independent Record, Missoulian, Montana Standard, and Bozeman Daily Chronicle editorial boards all endorsed Democrat Mike Cooney for governor over Republican Greg Gianforte, citing Cooney’s years of dependable, steady leadership and dedication to the people of Montana, and Gianforte’s refusal to take the pandemic seriously. The Missoulian said, “It’s an easy call.”

Gianforte had a rough week – it was revealed he attended a concert that was linked to several cases of COVID-19, and he was caught violating campaign finance laws. Gianforte had been raising money into his primary election account to pay back the millions he loaned himself early in the race, allowing individual donors to give double the legal limit for the general election. With a little more than a week to go, Gianforte is getting desperate. He just loaned his campaign an additional $4 million, more than he’s given his campaign this entire cycle.

Follow the Money: Audit Finds Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Abused COVID-19 Relief Funds, Didn’t Use Them to Address Pandemic

An audit from Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand found Gov. Kim Reynolds misused at least $21 million in CARES Act relief funds.

Rather than using the funds to help essential workers and directly respond to the pandemic, Reynolds paid for a new software system for her office and lined the pockets of her staff. Sand said, “These expenditures are not ‘due to the public health emergency.’”

If Reynolds does not use the money to directly address the pandemic, the funds will have to be returned to the federal government, resulting in a loss of $21 million for Iowa taxpayers.

Here’s an idea – Reynolds could use the money to test, trace, and report COVID-19 cases in schools, which she is refusing to do, even though she forced them to open against their will. Reynolds could also provide personal protective equipment to teachers, offer paid sick leave to essential employees, or allocate more funds to unemployment insurance – but for now, she seems to think HR software is a better use of those funds.

Reynolds hasn’t made good judgement calls on the pandemic – in addition to abusing CARES Act funds and forcing schools to open, she has also refused to mandate masks. Near-universal mask-wearing could save 100,000 lives by January 1.

It’s clear Iowans know they deserve better than this. According to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll from last month, more Iowans disapprove than approve of Reynolds’ handling of the pandemic.

Delaware Gov. John Carney Launches New Ad Highlighting His Steady Leadership During Pandemic

Delaware Gov. John Carney launched a new campaign ad highlighting his steady leadership on the COVID-19 pandemic. The ad says, “Steady leadership isn’t flashy, you won’t find it on campaign posters, but when COVID hit, steady leadership had us ready.”

Under the leadership of Gov. John Carney, Delaware was as prepared as it could be for the COVID-19 crisis. He had built up Delaware’s reserve funds in last year’s budget, enabling the state to get through the pandemic without raising taxes. The ad also highlights the historic investment Gov. Carney has made in public education, and his $4 billion infrastructure plan.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on CNN’s State of the Union, slamming President Trump for making it extremely difficult for states to safely reopen.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, on President Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric putting public officials like Gov. Whitmer and Dr. Fauci in danger.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, explaining the importance of following facts and science on COVID-19 and how Trump’s attacks on leaders like Dr. Fauci puts lives at risk.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, talking about vote-by-mail and early voting, and encouraging Americans to make a plan to vote.

“I voted for change, I voted for a return to civility, decency in the American government and in American politics.”

“[These are] simple things that don’t require government intervention, government mandates.”

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

If you guessed GOP candidate Dan Forest last week, you were right! During North Carolina’s gubernatorial debate, Forest denied the existence of systemic racism saying, “No, I don’t think there is systemic racism.”