The Weekender (5/07/21)


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

Let’s get started.

Virginia: It’s finally here! This weekend, the Virginia Republican Party will gather at sites across the state for a convention being referred to as a “logistical nightmare” and “Lord of the Flies”-like — and that’s just what the Republicans are saying. After spending months trying to win his endorsement, front-runner Amanda Chase is sure to be disappointed as Trump aides report that the disgraced former President is staying away from Virginia because he doesn’t want to be labeled a loser in the event his pick gets clobbered in the fall. Grab your popcorn, this convention is guaranteed to go off the rails. 

New Jersey: Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Rizzo met with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago this week as he courts the disgraced former President’s endorsement. As Rizzo seeks Trump’s endorsement and desperately appeals the court decision denying him public funds matching, front-runner and longtime establishment figure Jack Ciattarelli is attempting to rebrand himself as an “outsider”, even though he’s been involved in politics for three decades. With Rizzo biting at his heels, Ciattarelli is running scared a month out from the GOP primary as he tries to win over far-right voters.

John James Caught Lying About Charity Donations as RGA’s Recruitment Failure in Michigan Drags On

As the Michigan GOP struggles to find a legitimate candidate to run for governor, the Detroit News reported that two-time failed politician and potential gubernatorial back-up option John James failed to follow through with a commitment to donate 5% of his campaign contributions to charity — a promise that was central to his losing Senate campaign.  

The latest from James is just another example of how the Republican Party in Michigan remains in a state of disaster. With extremist GOP leadership in Michigan under fire for their dangerous, violent rhetoric, the party is scrambling to find gubernatorial candidates who resemble anything close to credible. Yet, their possibilities are dwindling: “Dream candidate” Candice Miller passed on running, so did RNC chair Ronna McDaniel amid reporting by the Free Press that “the GOP has no top-tier candidate for governor and no assurances it will get one.”  

The RGA’s recruitment pains extend beyond Michigan, where few Republicans are willing to enter a primary that would require doubling down on Trump’s extremist policies and dangerous record in order to win over his supporters. Republicans across the country are refusing to run, in states like MarylandMinnesotaPennsylvania, and Connecticut, and more.

DGA Announces Mayor Muriel Bowser Is Joining As Its Newest Member In Push For D.C. Statehood

This week, the Democratic Governors Association announced that Mayor Muriel Bowser is joining the organization as its newest member.

The District of Columbia, home to 700,000 residents, a majority of whom are people of color, has long lacked equal representation at the federal level. Its citizens pay taxes, serve in the military, but still lack the full rights and privileges of citizenship.

By joining the DGA, Mayor Bowser will have the opportunity to interact with other state and territory executives on policy best practices, furthering cooperation and innovation both in the District and in other states. It is also a recognition by the DGA on the positive impact D.C.’s citizens and leaders make on the country.

Read more on the announcement of Mayor Bowser as the newest member of the DGA below: 

Washington Post: In nod to statehood bid, Bowser admitted to Democratic Governors Association

Washingtonian: Democratic Governors Association Adds DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to its Ranks

DCist: Democratic Governors Association Adds D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser To Its Ranks

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on CNN’s Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota, talking about D.C. statehood and Mayor Bowser joining the DGA. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on MSNBC’s The Reid Out with Joy Reid, talking about the vaccine rollout in Michigan and the state’s science-based reopening plan.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Bloomberg’s Balance of Power with David Westin, talking about the vaccine rollout in New Jersey and the “big summer” ahead for the Jersey Shore. 

“Like millions of Americans nationwide, Washingtonians are focused on building a fairer, more just, and more resilient nation. We know that ending taxation without representation is not only the right thing to do, it is the best way to build a stronger, more inclusive democracy.”
– DC Mayor Muriel Bowser statement on joining as the newest member of the Democratic Governors Association

“My friends are leaving California. My hangar, the guy right across, he was packing up his hangar and I said, where are you going? And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk down the streets and see the homeless.'”

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

If you guessed VA GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin last week, you were right! During a forum, Youngkin attacked the VA GOP for hosting a convention rather than a primary — stirring up even more chaos into what front-runner Amanda Chase already called a “rigged” convention. “Shouldn’t we have 300,000 people participating, not 50,000? That’s the way we’re going to win.’”