The Weekender (5/22/20)


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

West Virginia: Democratic gubernatorial candidates Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango, activist Stephen Smith, and state Sen. Ron Stollings participated in a virtual debate on Tuesday. All three candidates criticized Gov. Jim Justice’s response to the coronavirus, saying the governor “stumbled out of the box a bit” and has been holding back on spending federal relief funds that could be helping small businesses and workers.
Washington: The filing deadline has passed, so it’s official – Washington State Republicans and the RGA have fielded perhaps the least qualified and least prepared batch of Pro-Trump candidates to take on popular Gov. Jay Inslee. Leading the pack is Tim Eyman – best known for stealing a $70 chair from an Office Depot. Another winner is Loren Culp who had the gall to compare the common-sense restrictions due to COVID-19 to the WW2 internment of people of Japanese descent. And we can’t forget Joshua Freed who is under investigation by the Public Disclosure Commission for illegally taking back a $500,000 loan he gave to his campaign.

COVID Kickbacks: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu Uses Pandemic To Benefit His Political Allies
A new investigation from NHPR details how GOP Gov. Chris Sununu “has authorized several no-bid, retroactive deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to political benefactors, without the traditional outside approval.” Sununu has avoided efforts to clarify how he is spending COVID-19 relief funds, a move which seems deeply partisan in light of these revelations.
Sununu said, “I’m not sure how any of this is political at all.”
We’ll spell it out for him: Sununu awarded the Capital Hotel Company, owned by his friend Steve Duprey (former NH Republican Party Chairman and longtime GOP donor), a $453,599 contract. Sununu also awarded two contracts to Convenient MD totalling nearly $1.5 million after their cofounder hosted a political fundraiser for the governor.

North Carolina Editorial Board Praises Gov. Roy Cooper’s Pandemic Response and Tells Republicans to “Get Out Of The Way”
The WRAL Editorial Board praised Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and ordered Republican Senate Leader Phil Berger to “just get out of the way.”
Gov. Cooper has received widespread praise and sky-high approvals for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic – resulting in politically-motivated attacks from some North Carolina Republicans. 
Berger has endorsed increasingly unpopular GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest who has put his political motivations above people’s lives and livelihoods during this crisis. In March, Forest was also told to “hush” by The Charlotte Observer’s Editorial Board after criticizing Cooper’s response to the crisis. He has openly supported extremist group ReOpen NC’s efforts to protest the governor’s public health plan, and spread the dangerous lie that the flu had killed more people than COVID-19.
Fortunately, North Carolinians are leaning on Gov. Cooper for guidance. East Carolina University released a poll today showing 76% of voters trust Gov. Cooper to provide reliable information about the coronavirus.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, responding to the President’s announcement that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine: “I really wish he would use his platform to say ‘let’s all wear masks.’”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on NBC’s Today Show, discussing her six-phase plan for reopening the state with social distancing.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on CNBC’s Fast Money, explaining the importance of federal aid to states to fund education, hospitals, workers’ salaries, pensions and more.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on CNN with Jim Scuitto, talking about putting the health and safety of citizens first during his state’s gradual reopening.

“No one should have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote.”

  • New Jersey Gov. Murphy on establishing a vote-by-mail election for the state’s June 7th primary. This measure ensures all New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to cast their vote without risking their health

“Harry Azcrac.”
Who said it? Send your answer to and we’ll reveal the answer in the next Weekender!
If you guessed GOP New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu last week, you were right! Sununu refused to relax his state’s in-person petition requirement for third party and independent candidates because “there could even be a conflict of interest issue there.” Sununu is running for re-election this fall – and the in-person petition requirement makes it more difficult for his opponents to gather signatures to appear on the ballot.