The Weekender (4/30/21)


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

Let’s get started.

Virginia:  GOP front-runner and self-proclaimed “Trump in heels” Amanda Chase spent last weekend cozying up to Donald Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Michael Flynn at Mar-a-Lago in the hopes of winning the former President’s endorsement. Just days later, at the Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate forum on Tuesday, Chase somehow believes her brand makes her the only candidate who can win with independent and Democratic voters. Welcoming extremist agendas with open arms from Taylor Greene and Flynn sure isn’t the best strategy to win over moderate voters and Republicans have not won a statewide election in more than a decade

Meanwhile, while two-sided Pete Snyder was notably absent from the forum, he sent Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in his place to tout endorsements from Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Ken Cuccinelli in an attempt to rile Chase and win over far-right voters. 

New Jersey: After failing to qualify for matching public campaign funds because he submitted the form a day late (oops), New Jersey GOP candidate Phil Rizzo has officially been denied matching public funds by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission —  even after throwing a fit and appealing the decision. Yet, Rizzo, who lives in a luxurious $1.6 million dollar home tax freerefuses to back down and is now taking the commission to court, all but guaranteeing continued chaos in the NJ GOP primary as Rizzo tries to take down Chris Christie clone Jack Ciattarelli. 

Newest Republican Fringe Candidate in Michigan Race Highlights RGA’s Recruitment Failure

Yet another fringe Republican candidate entered the governor’s race in Michigan, making the RGA’s ongoing major failure to recruit a viable candidate even more obvious.

The newest candidate to enter the race, Garrett Soldano, is a far-right, anti-masker, who is best known for leading a failed petition effort – filled with forged signatures – to undermine Michigan’s response to stop the spread of COVID-19. He’s even been questioned by the FBI for extremism, while building a reputation as a snake oil salesman who tried to turn a profit off a fake cure for COVID-19. 

It’s not a surprise to see another no-name Republican throw their hat in the ring, given that the Detroit Free Press recently reported “the GOP has no top-tier candidate for governor and no assurances it will get one.” 

In fact, the RGA already lost their “dream candidate” Candice Miller – who publicly announced she would not run for governor at the start of the year. And just last week, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel shut down the idea that she might run after being pressed by reporters. Meanwhile, two-time failed politician John James started a federal PAC, a bizarre move if he’s considering a run for state office. 

Gongwer in Michigan noted that even Michigan Republicans understand they are in a dire recruitment situation, reporting: “One Republican, speaking on background, said if neither Mr. James nor Ms. McDaniel runs, there’s not a strong fallback option available.” 

Across the country, the RGA has been facing similar recruitment issues, as very few members of the GOP seem willing to enter a brutal competition to prove their undying loyalty to Trump and his far-right agenda. That includes decisions not to run from Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford in MarylandRep. Pete Stauber and former NFL player Matt Birk in Minnesota, Senator Pat Toomey and Congressman Mike Kelly in Pennsylvania, and Mayor Erin Stewart in Connecticut.

Brownback from the Dead– DGA Releases Video Calling Out Colyer & Schmidt For Their Major Roles in the Failed Brownback Era

As the bruising GOP gubernatorial primary heats up in Kansas, the Democratic Governors Association released a new video titled “Brownback from the Dead” – calling out Kansas GOP gubernatorial candidates Jeff Colyer and Derek Schmidt for their leading roles in helping Sam Brownback crash the economy and harm public schools in Kansas. 

The video highlights clips of Jeff Colyer and Derek Schmidt singing Brownback’s praises, with Colyer saying, “Sam is the CEO and I’m the COO” and “Sam gets things done for Kansas,” and Schmidt saying, “Brownback has attentively delivered time and again” and “It’s a pleasure to be here in support of Governor Brownback.” 

Colyer and Schmidt played a key role in the Brownback administration, whose failed tax agenda eroded state revenue and hurt Kansas families. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on CNN’s New Day with John Berman, talking about the vaccine rollout in Michigan and the need to end domestic extremism. 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily with Kasie Hunt, talking about the vaccine rollout in New Jersey and the state’s science-based approach to recovering from COVID-19.  

“Justice is access to economic opportunity, to a great education, and yes, to affordable, quality, personalized healthcare. It’s about recognizing I think that communities across our state have been left out and left behind and then doing something about that.”Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker on the signing of a sweeping health care reform bill that improves access and equity in Illinois.

“Shouldn’t we have 300,000 people participating, not 50,000? That’s the way we’re going to win.’” Who said it? Send your answer to and we’ll reveal the answer in the next Weekender!

If you guessed VA GOP gubernatorial candidate Amanda Chase, you were right! Last week, “Trump in heels” told a gathering that the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial made her “sick” and that “jurors didn’t acquit because they feared a violent backlash.”