The Weekender (1/22/21)


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

Congratulations to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their inauguration! Democratic governors look forward to having a partner in the White House again. We are excited to work with President Biden and Vice President Harris to unite the country and build back better.

Let’s get started.

Virginia: Tensions in the VA GOP nomination fight boiled over last weekend during a meeting about whether to change the nomination process from a convention back to a primary, a move far-right candidate Amanda Chase’s supporters see as her best chance to win. The meeting ended abruptly after party leaders refused to take the issue up for a vote, angering party members. Chase, an extremist and self-proclaimed “Trump in heels,” has emerged as a frontrunner for the nomination, with a loyal band of Trump-like followers and bigger fundraising numbers than her GOP opponents. Chase raised $468,030 in the second half of 2020, outraising former House speaker Kirk Cox.

New Jersey: With Doug Steinhardt’s exit last week, the New Jersey GOP thought they were going to avoid a messy primary. No dice. The GOP primary is getting quite crowded, with six candidates now vying it out for the nomination. Over the weekend, more candidates joined, including failed candidate Brian Levine, who still has refused to say whether he attended Trump’s superspreader fundraiser in Bedminster. With all these Trump apologists running around, we don’t know how we’re going to tell them all apart.

Continuing His Streak of Bizarre, Dangerous Behavior, Mike Shirkey Admits to Advising Militia Groups and Pushes More Lies About Our Elections

After criticizing the FBI’s warning against credible threats of violence at state capitols during inauguration week, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has continued his assault on democracy. A new report revealed Shirkey advised three militia groups, saying he gave them advice on “how they could improve their message.” Just a month after the meeting, it was revealed that a group of men with known ties to militia groups were planning to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, put her on trial, and execute her.

Shirkey has been known to cozy up to militia members – he shared the stage at a rally with one of the men charged with attempting to kidnap Gov. Whitmer. And during a recent interview, Shirkey attempted to defend the militia groups that attacked the U.S. Capitol building, saying “I don’t know if you’ve ever been around mobs before but it’s easy to get caught up.”

Shirkey has had a busy week – when he wasn’t admitting to consorting with anti-democracy militia groups or making excuses for their behavior, he was continuing to push the election lies that led to the deadly attack on the capitol, making racist jokes about the coronavirus, and attempting to hide the truth about his whereabouts after testing positive for COVID-19.

It’s clear Shirkey doesn’t take the deadly pandemic seriously. Shirkey only disclosed his COVID-19 diagnosis to the public weeks after his positive test, and then lied about where he was in the weeks leading up to it. Shirkey claimed he hadn’t been in the state Capitol since Dec. 18, but video footage shows Shirkey removed his mask in the House for a full 25 minutes on Dec. 21, just two days before he tested positive, potentially exposing others to the virus.

Democratic Governors Slam Trump Administration For Lying About Vaccine Stockpile

Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that the Trump administration would release all available vaccine doses from the federal stockpile.

But it turns out that no such reserve of vaccines existed, blindsiding state and health officials who had anticipated additional vaccines.

Democratic governors have been working tirelessly to ramp up vaccine distribution and get as many shots in arms as possible, but once again, the federal government has lied to governors and left states in the lurch. The Trump administration’s lack of transparency and failure to lead is slowing vaccinations that could save lives.

Governors Whitmer, Evers, and Walz sent a letter to Secretary Azar expressing their frustration with the Trump administration and asking permission to purchase vaccines directly from suppliers.

Democratic governors across the country slammed the Trump administration and demanded answers

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on CNN’s New Day before President Biden’s inauguration, talking about how we can restore the values and norms that were broken over the last four years and start to bring our country back together.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on MSNBC’s American Voices alongside Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, discussing the warnings they raised over the summer about political violence after protests at the state capitol and Gov. Whitmer’s thwarted kidnapping attempt.

“While an inaugural address normally lays out what the next four years will look like, this last year has made crystal clear that none of us knows what the future holds. But regardless of what lies ahead, I promise to continue working hard, every single day, to support the causes you care about. To fight for what’s important to you. And to make life better for every single Delawarean.”

“There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

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

If you guessed Missouri Gov. Mike Parson last week, you were right! Parson said people should “absolutely not” place the blame for the violence on Trump or the Republicans who were trying to block certification of the presidential election results.