The Weekender (5/21/21)


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

Let’s get started.

Virginia: After a long and impossibly confusing Republican convention characterized by extremely underwhelming turnout, Trump loyalist Glenn Youngkin barely emerged the winner of the Virginia Republican primary for governor. Youngkin is an out-of-touch and toxic candidate that’s running on an extreme agenda that includes supporting Trump’s false conspiracies about the 2020 election, opposing the critical federal COVID-19 passed in the American Rescue Plan, and attacking Medicaid expansion. Less than 24 hours after eking out a win, Youngkin was immediately endorsed by Donald Trump. Youngkin reacted to the endorsement with pride, saying he was “totally honored” to receive the former president’s endorsement.

New Jersey: While the civil war in the New Jersey Republican primary for governor wages on, a new poll showed that New Jerseyans continue to overwhelmingly approve of the job Gov. Phil Murphy has done handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Murphy also signed legislation this week requiring all health care professionals who provide perinatal treatment and care to pregnant persons at a hospital or birthing center to undergo explicit and implicit bias training. The requirement of explicit and implicit bias training will help to improve New Jersey’s high rates of Black maternal and infant mortality and the racial disparities that drive the crisis. 

Suspect on FBI Wanted List for Insurrection Poses with Potential PA Gov Candidate Doug Mastriano at Fundraiser with Rudy Giuliani

Unsurprisingly, at a campaign event for far-right insurrectionist and likely Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor Doug Mastriano, co-host Rudy Giuliani, whose house was just raided by the FBI, was not the only person in attendance caught up in federal criminal investigations. A report from HuffPost revealed that a suspect wanted by the FBI for his role in the January 6th insurrection that left five people dead posed for pictures with Mastriano at the event.

Like the suspect, Mastriano was also present at the January 6th attack, as his campaign paid thousands to bus people to the U.S. Capitol. 

This is just the latest example of how Trump’s right-wing agenda has an iron grip on the PA GOP and the crowded Republican primary for governor, which also includes Joe Gale and Lou Barletta, who are staunch supporters of the Big Lie and die-hard Trump loyalists. 

DGA Statement on John Lee’s Entrance to Nevada Republican Primary for Governor

Earlier this week, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee announced his entrance into the Republican party’s primary for governor of Nevada. Democratic Governors Association Executive Director Noam Lee released the following statement:

“John Lee is wrong for Nevada. Lee’s out-of-touch values and dangerous priorities would drag the state backward, hurting communities, businesses, and Nevadans. Lee’s campaign will be nothing but a parroting of the Trump agenda the state already rejected. Instead of offering policies that will help Nevada, Lee is running on rumors and scare tactics that are a favorite of the far-right base. One thing is sure, Lee’s candidacy will turn this GOP primary into a nasty dash to the right as others try to break the grip Lee holds on the conservative wing.”

Hawaii Gov. David Ige on CNN with Jake Tapper on continuing to keep Hawaiians safe from COVID-19 by keeping Hawaii’s mask mandate in place. 

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee on CNN with Fredericka Whitfield talking about following the science when it comes to COVID-19, getting shots in arms in the state, and getting people back to work. 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on CNN with Jake Tapper, discussing reopening, in-person school by Fall, and continuing the state’s mask mandate. 

“Half of Pennsylvania adults are now vaccinated against COVID-19. This is a major milestone. Thank you for getting vaccinated to protect your health and the health of everyone in our commonwealth. And thank you to the hardworking providers who have been getting shots into arms.” 
– Gov. Tom Wolf announcing COVID vaccination success and thanking health care workers

“It was fantastic to get [Giuliani’s] endorsement and support. And of course, he’s speaking to 45 about me as well, which is great!”

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

If you guessed Trump last week, you were right! Trump wrote an endorsement for Glenn Youngkin in a statement last Tuesday morning that was circulated by his political action committee.