The Weekender (8/20/21)


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

Let’s get started.

Virginia: With only a couple of months until the Virginia gubernatorial election, Terry McAuliffe continues to win over Virginians and lead in the polls. The candidates have disagreed on issues surrounding COVID, public health, and protecting the community. Amidst another spike in the pandemic, Youngkin firmly opposes mandates and favors endangering communities. Meanwhile, McAuliffe is making efforts to ensure the safety and health of all Virginians with his support for science-based solutions to the ongoing pandemic. As K-12 school starts back up, the two proposed paths to combatting COVID could lead to dramatically different outcomes, and McAuliffe’s plan for health is the clear winner.

New Jersey: A new Monmouth poll in the New Jersey governor’s race gives Gov. Phil Murphy a double-digit lead over Jack Ciattarelli. The poll shows Gov. Murphy ahead of Ciattarelli by 16 points, with 52% of voters supporting Gov. Murphy, compared to only 36% of voters backing Ciattarelli. Gov. Murphy also leads on the issues New Jersey voters care most about. While Ciattarelli remains stuck pushing a far-right agenda that includes restricting reproductive freedom, cutting taxes for the wealthy, and opposing New Jersey’s LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum in schools, the poll finds “the issue picture right now is very favorable for Murphy.” In the top issue of the race, the pandemic, Gov. Murphy has a “clear advantage,” with 46% of voters trusting him to handle the pandemic, compared to just 21% trusting Ciattarelli. Voters also trust Gov. Murphy over Ciattarelli when it comes to jobs and the economy. With a far-right, out-of-touch campaign stuck in the lies of Donald Trump, it’s no surprise Jack Ciattarelli still isn’t resonating with voters.

Florida Republican Mayor Slams DeSantis: “He’s a Dictator” & Floridians are “Paying the Price”

Ron DeSantis is getting widespread criticism for his abysmal response to COVID-19 — from more than 800 in-state doctors, local public school officials, parents, major industries in Florida, front-line workers, and now, even from prominent elected officials in his own party.

Carlos Hernandez, the Republican mayor of Hialeah, a community in Miami-Dade County, attacked DeSantis for prohibiting local governments from implementing life-saving COVID-19 protections. Hernandez told the Washington Post DeSantis is a “dictator” and said it’s Floridians who are “paying the price” for his lack of leadership.

This comes as cases and hospitalizations in Florida reach record highs — including among children. DeSantis also recently said he wasn’t even aware Florida requested hundreds of ventilators from the federal government. As the virus spreads across Florida, Ron DeSantis continues to fight with seemingly everyone and everything instead of bringing people together to save lives, keep kids in school, and safely grow the economy.

Kansas Gov. Kelly announces $6M in grants to help survivors of domestic violence, child abuse
This past week, Gov. Laura Kelly announced that more than $6 million in grants will go to over 40 domestic violence and sexual assault programs and children’s advocacy centers across Kansas. These funds will go towards grants to help improve programs to assist survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.

“My administration will continue to do all we can to provide support and resources to Kansans who need it most,” Kelly said.

The grants will come from the 2022 State General Fund Grant Program for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the 2022 State General Funds for Children’s Advocacy Centers. These grants provide a safety net to survivors leaving their abusive relationships and assists them in getting back on their feet.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on CNN with Kate Bolduan discussing Kentucky ICUs filling up with COVID patients and limited hospital space to accommodate them.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on CNN with Don Lemon urging residents of Louisiana to get vaccinated and discussing the drastic increase in COVID hospitalizations in the state.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on MSNBC with Zerlina Maxwell talking about the importance of getting vaccinated and masking up indoors.

“If there are refugees who have the opportunity and come to the United States as a result of our ability to drive them out, I hope Illinois will be one place where they can be welcomed.”

  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s statement on welcoming Afghan refugees to Illinois.

“Oh, listen. I’m not a scientist, so I have to take, I have to do the best that I can do with the information that I received. But really, what I think I need to do is — I don’t know.”

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

If you guessed Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last week, you’re spot on! In response to criticism by President Biden for banning mask mandates, DeSantis threw a tantrum and responded with, “Why don’t you do your job?” He told Biden that he didn’t want to “hear a blip about COVID from [him].”