The Weekender (2/12/21)
Welcome to the Democratic Governors Association’s Friday newsletter, The Weekender.
Let’s get started.
Virginia: The theme of this year’s Virginia GOP gubernatorial primary appears to be quantity over quality, with yet another Trump wannabe candidate joining the crowded race. Like all the other GOP candidates, Peter Doran is desperately trying to emulate Trump. His announcement video was riddled with lies and “law and order” messaging – extremely hypocritical coming from the party that incited an attempt to overthrow the government and kill lawmakers.
The primary also took a rather bizarre turn this week when something happened beyond our wildest dreams. Glenn Youngkin did something bad, and worlds collided – are you ready for it?
Turns out Taylor Swift and GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin have bad blood, with Swift now re-recording her early albums because the originals were bought by a malicious organization financed in part by the Carlyle Group, while Youngkin was co-CEO. We knew he was trouble when he entered the race. Youngkin can’t just shake this off. He should’ve said no. Don’t blame me… sorry, we need to calm down.
Cook Political Report Labels Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Most Vulnerable GOP Incumbent
Cook Political Report released their 2022 governor race ratings – and stamped a big warning on Georgia: “Gov. Brian Kemp is very much in danger.” The race ratings agency also noted that Kemp is likely the most vulnerable incumbent governor.
Kemp has pressure coming from all sides. He’s facing a fractured Republican base, and an increasingly Democratic landscape – meaning a tough primary and an even tougher general election.
Disgraced President Donald Trump blames Kemp for his loss in Georgia and has been going after him with a vengeance, suggesting Kemp should be “jailed,” encouraging Georgians to “vote him out of office” and actively recruiting primary challengers, which include Rep. Doug Collins and football player Herschel Walker. Trump even threatened in-person appearances in Georgia, saying, “I’ll be here in about a year and a half campaigning against your governor, I guarantee you that.”
Then there’s the strong possibility that a Democratic candidate could replicate the success and expand the work of President Joe Biden and Georgia’s newest Senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, in the general. And thanks to the efforts of Democrats like Stacey Abrams, Black voter engagement in the state has been increasingly high. In the November 2020 election, voter turnout in Georgia was more than 74%, mostly due to early voting by Black Georgians, up 40% from 2016.
As Donald Trump said, “I can’t imagine he’s ever getting elected again, I’ll tell you that much right now.”
Republicans in Georgia are clearly scared of Democrats’ momentum – state legislators recently rolled out a package meant to disenfranchise communities of color and limit voter turnout.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham: Dem Govs Are Ready to Work with Biden to Crush COVID
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham penned an op-ed in Newsweek explaining why she is optimistic that Democratic governors and the Biden administration can work together to end the pandemic, despite the failures of the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout.
Trump’s handling of the entire pandemic was an unmitigated disaster that left states to fend for themselves. Governors were left in the dark most of the time, learning only recently that the Trump administration lied about the existence of a vaccine stockpile.
Gov. Lujan Grisham explains that the patchwork of strategies under the Trump administration was inefficient: “By necessity, states across the country have been building the plane as we fly it—and each of us are building our own plane.”
But she’s hopeful that the Biden administration’s unified approach will help the country build back better. Already, President Biden has recommitted the country to a pandemic response rooted in science, and has revamped the vaccine rollout to be a cohesive, national approach. She says, “Through hard work and collaboration, we can and will emerge victorious, and we’ll begin the work of building our country back better than ever before.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on CNBC’s Squawk Box, crowning New Jersey as the state with the best pizza. Gov. Murphy claims: “It’s over. The votes are in, we won.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, discussing the need for federal aid to states and localities in order to get through the pandemic.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper at an Axios event, explaining North Carolina’s efforts to combat vaccine hesitancy in communities of color and how the state is being intentional about vaccine distribution.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has only further exacerbated the need for and underscored the urgency of making sure we have affordable, accessible services available to folks when they need it most, and that’s why it’s a top priority in our budget.”
- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on renewing his push for Medicaid expansion, which has been blocked by the GOP legislature in the past.
“That wasn’t Trump people. That’s been a hoax from day one… It was all staged.”
Who said it? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll reveal the answer in the next Weekender!
If you guessed South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem last week, you were right! Noem claimed in a Fox News interview that, thanks to her state’s “unique” approach to the coronavirus pandemic, they “got through it better than virtually every other state.”
In reality, a Washington Post fact check showed Noem’s opposition to safety measures like mask mandates put her state in a dangerous position: “South Dakota ended 2020 with the second-highest number of population-adjusted coronavirus infections in the country. One out of every 9 residents had contracted the virus, and 1 out of every 600 had died of it.”