The Weekender (4/23/21)


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

Let’s get started.

Virginia: The Virginia GOP’s convention took another turn towards chaos this week as front-runner Amanda Chase, Kirk Cox, and Glenn Youngkin penned a letter urging the state party not to use a ballot-counting system currently under consideration. The trio claim the system utilizes “untested and unproven software that creates uncertainty.” Chase also claimed in a recent speech that her nemesis Pete Snyder is pushing for the ballot-counting system. 

After months of uncertainty and confusion over the VA GOP’s nominating process, this latest move adds even more chaos less than three weeks until the convention. Virginia Republicans have spent months trumpeting the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen and now the trio are openly professing their suspicions on an election run entirely by their own party. Chase, a self-proclaimed “Trump in heels” candidate, has promised to run as an independent if Snyder wins the “rigged convention” and this latest letter show’s how Chase is attempting to muddy the convention waters and follow in Trump’s “rigged election” footsteps. 

New Jersey: After failing to qualify for matching public funds, NJ GOP candidate Phil Rizzo begged the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission to reconsider its denial. They refused. Rizzo is seeking to wrestle the gubernatorial nomination away from Chris Christie clone Jack Ciattarelli. Rizzo’s campaign has gained steam in recent weeks as he attempts to court Trump for an endorsement — causing Ciattarelli to freak out and attack Rizzo over his tax dodging and anti-Catholic comments. Even with Rizzo’s appeal denial, this primary will continue to be a long slog to the right as they fight for voters.

Detroit Free Press on RGA Recruitment Failure: “GOP has no top-tier candidate for governor and no assurances it will get one”

A new report from the Detroit Free Press is detailing the RGA’s major and ongoing recruitment failure in Michigan, writing: “With less than 16 months to go before the 2022 primary, the GOP has no top-tier candidate for governor and no assurances it will get one.” 

The Free Press continues to note that the “two names that top most wish lists” are “dream candidate” Candice Miller, who had already publicly ruled out a bid, along with two-time failed politician John James, who recently started a federal PAC.

Additionally, Republican strategists are already throwing cold water on all the other C-list and no-name candidates floating their own names, with the Free Press adding, “There are also a few candidates who have already announced their candidacies or signaled their intentions to run. But GOP campaign consultants interviewed by the Free Press did not identify any of them as likely to emerge victorious from any primary.”

The RGA’s recruitment woes in Michigan, which also includes RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel refusing to run, matches similar failures across the country as top potential candidates are all staying on the sidelines. That includes: Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford in Maryland, Rep. Pete Stauber in Minnesota, Sen. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, and Mayor Erin Stewart in Connecticut, among others.

New Mexico Tops Vaccine Rollout As Democratic Governors Lead Country in Vaccination Efforts

Across the country, Democratic governors are leading the way in the nation’s critical COVID-19 vaccination efforts. At the top of that list, stands New Mexicowhich has become the state with the highest rate of full vaccinations, thanks to strong, decisive leadership by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

From the beginning of the pandemic, Gov. Lujan Grisham has been focused on data-backed mitigation efforts to curb the deadly spread of COVID-19 like social distancing and mask mandates. This dedication, along with cooperation between state and local agencies, and homegrown technological expertise, is now delivering dividends in the race to mass vaccination. Since the start of the vaccination campaign, daily new cases have dropped from nearly 2,000 to fewer than 200. The success in New Mexico comes despite challenges facing the state including some of the highest poverty rates in the country, foundational health disparities, and coordination with tribal nations. 

Democratic states, overall, have been leading the way in vaccination efforts. According to a recent study by the New York Times, “the states with the highest vaccination rates are now mostly Democratic-leaning, and the states with the lowest rates are deeply conservative.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, talking about the vaccine rollout in Michigan and Republican efforts to limit her ability to respond to the pandemic. 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on CBS This Morning with Gayle King, talking about the Derek Chauvin conviction and the need for continued law enforcement reform.

“No verdict can bring George back, and my heart is with his family as they continue to grieve his loss. Minnesota mourns with you, and we promise the pursuit of justice for George does not end today.”

  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz remarks on the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

“Friends, today’s verdict makes me sick.”

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

If you guessed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week, you were right! Last week, Abbott incorrectly stated on Fox News that Texas could be “very close” to herd immunity. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said, “there is no way on God’s green earth that Texas is anywhere even close to herd immunity.”