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    (CNN)In a major blow to former President Donald Trump, the Tennessee Republican Party voted on Tuesday to boot three candidates from its primary ballot for the 5th Congressional District -- including Trump-endorsed hopeful Morgan Ortagus. Along with Ortagus, who earned Trump's endorsement in the race earlier this year, congressional candidates Robby Starbuck and Baxter Lee were also removed from the ballot by the party's executive committee, according to a source briefed on the matter. The decision came just over a week after state GOP officials agreed to review challenges to the three candidates that raised questions about their Republican bonafides, including whether they had voted in three of the last four Republican primaries, as required by the state party's bylaws. Ortagus blasted the move in a statement late Tuesday, claiming that she is "a bonafide Republican by their standards, and frankly, by any metric." The former State Department spokeswoman moved to Tennessee from Washington, DC, in 2021 and has been accused of carpetbagging by critics, including several state lawmakers who backed a new three-year residency requirement for Tennessee primary candidates...
    (CNN)Campaigning for the Senate in Ohio in recent weeks, J.D. Vance has ridiculed claims that advocates of a border-wall were "racist." But in multiple appearances in 2016, he made a similar argument to the one he is currently ridiculing -- including saying that Republican electoral strategy had been to antagonize Black voters and minorities for three decades. Vance was a critic of Donald Trump at the time, agreeing he was a "total fraud" who didn't care about people and used issues like "the great Mexican wall" to give voters something to latch onto instead of policy solutions. Vance also told a New York City public radio host that many White working-class voters who supported Trump did not attend church regularly, making them susceptible to the sense of community in a Trump rally. At the same time, Vance argued racism did play a role in support for Trump, but not the biggest. Now, the GOP hopeful strikes a different tone, mirroring rhetoric he once said was bad for the country to become more aligned with Trump in hopes of winning over...
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A divided Ohio Supreme Court issued an extraordinary fourth rebuke Thursday of the state’s Republican-controlled redistricting panel, declaring mapmakers’ latest maps for Statehouse districts yet another partisan gerrymander. By a vote of the same bipartisan 4-3 majority that ruled against the previous three maps, the court ordered the embattled and defiant Ohio Redistricting Commission back to the drawing board again. It set a May 6 deadline for completing the next plan. That date falls after a Wednesday deadline set by a federal court for ironing out differences between the court and the commission. It wasn’t immediately clear how the ruling would impact the U.S. District Court’s path forward. Voting in the May 3 primary has already begun without legislative races listed. In Thursday’s ruling, the court said the commission’s latest plan still violates a 2015 constitutional amendment overwhelmingly passed by Ohio voters. That amendment said the panel must attempt to avoid partisan favoritism and also must try to proportionally distribute districts to reflect Ohio’s political makeup, which is split at about 54% Republican, 46% Democratic. Republicans...
    Former Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Beth Harwell, a candidate for the TN-5 GOP nomination, announced on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy that if elected, she will limit herself to three terms of service totaling six years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Harwell has additionally signed the U.S. Term Limits’ pledge which states “that as a member of Congress I will co-sponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits Amendment of three (3) House terms and two (2) Senate terms and no longer limit.” “In Tennessee, we’re a citizen legislature – it’s a part-time job.” Harwell said. “What’s happened in Washington is some of these folks stay in Congress for far too long without having to face their constituents, and term limits would fix that. That’s why I also signed the U.S. Term Limit pledge.” Harwell was the first female to serve as the Speaker of the House in the Tennessee General Assembly. Additionally, she served as chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. During her tenure at the state party, Republicans captured a majority...
    Bob Daemmrich/Zuma Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.As the moral panic about trans youth spreads, a dozen states have passed laws, mostly driven by Republican legislators, which prevent trans students from participating on girls’ sports teams. But in some states, these bills are facing unexpected opponents: Republican governors. Thus far, only one Republican governor has successfully thwarted his state’s efforts to bring state law into high school sports. But three Republicans have joined Democrats in Kentucky, Kansas, and Louisiana in taking a stand against laws that target nonexistent problems. Here are their reasons. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb Last month, Holcomb took a pragmatic approach in vetoing a bill that would have banned trans girls from participating in girls’ sports, arguing that the vague language of the legislation would open schools up to lawsuits. He further added that at no point in the past 10 years had a trans girl sought to compete on a girls’ team in Indiana. “The presumption of the policy laid out in HEA...
    Three Republican-led states have filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden's administration to stop it from lifting the Title 42 health order for the southern border amid concerns it will bring in a huge flux of migrants. The attorneys general in Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri argued the move was unlawful and will have a devastating impact on the states. 'This suit challenges an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this administration's disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated catastrophe,' the complaint read.  Mark Brnovich, the Republican attorney general of Arizonia who is running for Senate, claimed the recension of the order will bring in half a million migrants over a one-month period.  'Literally if the Biden administration rescinds this policy it will result in more than half a million people it's estimated to illegally cross our border in just one month. That's like the entire population of Baltimore, Atlanta, Georgia,' he told Fox & Friends on Monday morning. 'We want to stop the Biden administration from rescinding Title 42. Because it may be one of the...
    The House of Representatives voted Friday to federally legalize marijuana with a vote of 220-204, mostly along party lines, sending the legislation to the Senate.  Three Republicans - Reps. Matt Gaetz, Brian Mast and Tom McClintock -  voted alongside the Democratic majority, while two Democrats voted no with the GOP.  It marked the second time the Democrat-led House passed a bill to decriminalize pot, the first happening in December 2020.     The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act decriminalizes possession, distribution and manufacture of cannabis - and no longer classifies it as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.   Republicans took to the House floor to call the bill half-baked.  'It's been obvious for years that at some point marijuana was going to me formally legalized. What's deeply and truly disturbing, however, about this bill is its failure to address the clear consequences of legalization,' warned Rep. Cliff Bentz, an Oregon Republican, who was leading the debate.  Bentz drew attention to the war in Ukraine, the southern border crisis, high gas prices and rampant inflation. 'But the main priority for the Democrats isn't Ukraine, skyrocketing gasoline...
    While most Republicans asked challenging but respectful questions of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court, during her confirmation hearings, “three or four Republican senators went over the line,” Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday. In her confirmation hearing last week, Jackson faced questions from Republicans that ranged from serious to brutal on topics including her sentencing record as a trial judge. Some Republicans, notably Sens. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and Lindsey Graham, characterized Jackson as lenient in some cases involving child pornography offenses. Jackson and her supporters said her sentencing record is within legal norms. SENATE REPUBLICANS PUSH BACK VOTE TO APPROVE JACKSON FOR SUPREME COURT BY A WEEK Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who is both the Senate majority whip and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said during a Senate Democratic leadership press conference that “the majority of the Republican senators I thought handled it properly and did it in a professional way, consistent with the aspiration she has to serve the highest court in the land.” “Their...
    Washington (CNN)A television attack ad from a prominent candidate in North Carolina's competitive Republican primary for the US Senate, former state governor Pat McCrory, tries to make another top candidate, Rep. Ted Budd, sound like a defender of Russian President Vladimir Putin.But the McCrory ad is misleading. It cuts out quotes in which Budd sharply criticized Putin.A television ad from a conservative group, meanwhile, leaves out key context from an attack on McCrory's immigration record. And a television ad from Budd's campaign features Budd denouncing President Joe Biden over immigration and other subjects -- but uses border footage from Donald Trump's presidency to illustrate his point. Here's a look at all three ads.McCrory ad leaves out Budd quotes about PutinRead MoreAn ad from McCrory's campaign portrays Budd as a supporter of Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But it achieves this effect by leaving out critical comments from Budd.McCrory begins the ad by saying, "Ukrainians bled and died." The ad then cuts to Budd saying of Putin: "He's a very intelligent actor." McCrory then says, "Congressman Budd excused their...
    On Thursday evening, a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, a nine-term Nebraska Republican, of concealing illegal campaign funds he received from a foreign national, Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, and for lying to federal investigators about those funds. Fortenberry, who immediately vowed to appeal, said he would consider whether to continue his re-election campaign for the 1st Congressional District, a constituency in the Lincoln area that Donald Trump would have carried 54-43. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, though, pressured him to depart the following day, saying, “I think when someone’s convicted, it’s time to resign.” The congressman is scheduled to be sentenced in June, and each of the three charges he was convicted on carries a maximum of five years in prison. Fortenberry already faced serious opposition in the May Republican primary from state Sen. Mike Flood, a former speaker of the state's unicameral legislature who has endorsements from Gov. Pete Ricketts and former Gov. Dave Heineman, while Democrats are fielding state Sen. Patty Pansing. Candidate filing closed weeks ago, so it’s too late for anyone else...
    According to CNN, Democrats in the chamber hope to move quickly by holding a confirmation vote by early next month. The party can confirm Jackson without any Republican votes so long as every Democratic member supports her nomination and Vice President Kamala Harris votes to break a 50-50 tie. It remains unclear whether Jackson will receive any votes from Republican members of the chamber. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced this week that he would oppose Jackson's nomination. During confirmation hearings, Republicans have primarily confronted Jackson about her controversial sentencing of a convicted child pornographer to just three months in prison. In the case, Jackson made sympathetic comments about the defendant and his family and said she did not believe he was a pedophile. But Jackson also raised eyebrows across the country this week when she amazingly refused to define the word "woman," claiming she is "not a biologist." The remarks immediately drew ire from conservatives and were considered especially absurd given the fact that Jackson's own womanhood was a primary factor in her own nomination. Breyer has been considered...
    Win McNamee/Getty Images Fox News released a poll showing that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is significantly more popular among voters than the last three Supreme Court nominees. “A 56% majority would vote to confirm her, the highest of any nominee since the question was first asked on a Fox News poll in 2005,” Fox reported. “The next closest was Justice Sonia Sotomayor, nominated by former President Obama, when 53% said they would vote to confirm her in July 2009.” Approval ratings for the three justices confirmed between Sotomayor and Jackson’s hearings were significantly lower. Justice Amy Coney Barrett received an approval rating of 50 percent during her confirmation hearings in 2020, while 45 percent approved of Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017, and only 40 percent said they would vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Of the five judges nominated to the Supreme Court since 2009, the three women were most popular among those surveyed by Fox News. The Fox News survey, which was conducted between March 18-21, also shows that Democrats were most likely to approve of President Joe Biden’s nominee....
    Jimmy Kimmel continued to mock Republican senators for their handling of Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings. “You know it was another day of grandstanding, speechmaking, and hissy fitting in the Senate today,” Kimmel said on Wednesday night. “It was day three of the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. 58 percent of Americans support Judge Jackson’s appointment to the Supreme Court. It is the most support a Jackson has had since Thriller came out.” Kimmel then noted that Jackson has said that the fact that she was even nominated to sit on the Supreme Court shows “how far we’ve come as a country,” adding, “And so some of the Republican Senators on the committee have been hard at work to show how far we haven’t.” The host called out Republican Senators Josh Hawley (MO), Ted Cruz (TX), and Lindsey Graham (SC) for “putting on a three-ring circle jerk” while questioning Jackson. Kimmel then mocked them for “desperately trying to get a sound bite that might make it onto Fox News,” adding, “Unfortunately for them, they’ve made it here instead.” “Josh Hawley of...
    The trio of top House Democrats - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn - are all running for re-election.  The 81-year-old Clyburn announced Monday he would run for a 15th term, while the 81-year-old Pelosi and 82-year-old Hoyer had previously announced 2022 runs.  Together the octogenarians have a combined age of 244 - and none have committed to stepping down from leadership posts, despite the rising prospect Republicans could put them back in the minority. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at age 81, announced earlier this year she would be running for re-election. In 2018, however, she promised to only spend four more years as speaker   House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who's 82, and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, 81, also announced they would be running again, with Clyburn making the announcement Monday  Pelosi did commit in 2018 to hold herself to just four more years of speaker in order to get a number of detractors on board.  She had previously served as House speaker from 2007 to 2011.   The Real Clear Politics average gives...
    It’d be easy to think that Democrats’ dominance in California will make statewide elections this year a total snoozer. After all, the March 11 deadline for candidates to jump into the races came and went with few surprises. Democratic incumbents’ lock on power was most evident at the top of the ticket, where Gov. Gavin Newsom and U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla will face little-known challengers who have yet to raise much money. Neither did significant challengers emerge in the races for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer or state schools superintendent — all offices held by Democrats. The power of incumbency, the enormous cost of running a campaign in this huge state and Republicans’ inability to win a statewide race in 16 years (even when the rules gave them an unfair advantage in last year’s recall) have combined to keep ambitious politicians away from contesting most statewide offices. That’s frustrating because democracy works best when voters feel like they have real choices and politicians feel like they have to prove their value at each election. More than half of voters...
    Key Republican Senate primaries in Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are poised for a shake-up after former President Donald Trump confirmed that endorsements are forthcoming in the three uncertain contests. Trump is especially popular with the GOP base in those states, and the retirement of the incumbent Republican senator in each state sparked competitive primaries fought primarily over who is most closely aligned with the former president. Accordingly, with the candidates differing little on major issues, Trump’s endorsement could sway voters and effectively decide the winner of each campaign. “President Trump’s endorsement in Missouri will be important,” said Gregg Keller, a Republican strategist in St. Louis. “A Trump endorsement in Ohio likely means victory for the beneficiary,” added David Myhal, a Republican strategist in Cincinnati. “The only real question is: What criteria is he using to make the decision?” 'MO BROOKS IS DISAPPOINTING': TRUMP MULLS PULLING ALABAMA SENATE ENDORSEMENT The retirement of Republican Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania led to crowded and competitive GOP primaries in all three states. The Republicans’...
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a third set of Ohio Statehouse district maps that Republicans insisted reflect the state’s partisan breakdown — and sent them back for a fourth try even as final ballots were being prepared for the May 3 primary. In yet another 4-3 ruling late Wednesday, the court found the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission’s third attempt at drawing the maps again failed to pass constitutional muster. No Democrats have supported any of the three plans, and Republican Auditor Keith Faber joined Democrats in opposing the third plan. This time, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a moderate Republican joining court Democrats, chose to write the majority opinion herself. “Substantial and compelling evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the main goal of the individuals who drafted the second revised plan was to favor the Republican Party and disfavor the Democratic Party,” she wrote for the court. Of particular concern was the fact that Republicans have all three times drafted the plan approved by the commission without input from Democratic members of the bipartisan commission....
    President Joe Biden's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, meets with three lawmakers on Tuesday as top Republicans have vowed to show "respect" during her Senate Judiciary Committee hearings despite disagreements. Jackson first met with West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito Tuesday morning, who had previously promised to "consider her nomination according to her experience and ability to make unbiased decisions based on the text and original meaning of our Constitution” carefully. Capito, after meeting with Jackson on Tuesday, didn't tip her hand. "As I've said before, I continue to take my constitutional duty to evaluate Supreme Court nominees seriously, and I will keep an open mind as I carefully consider her nomination," Capito said in a statement. Biden's nominee is also slated to meet with Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland later on Tuesday. CONSERVATIVE JUDICIAL ACTIVIST SAYS THERE'S A LOT TO CRITICIZE IN JACKSON RECORD While Republicans are individually united in their pledge to review Jackson's judicial record carefully before making a firm decision on whether to vote for...
    Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed official GOP candidate for Tennessee’s Congressional District House seat, Michelle Foreman, in-studio to discuss her top three legislative objectives. Leahy: Now, Michelle, what would be your top three priorities if you were to be elected and were to serve in the Tennessee General Assembly when they convene in January of 2023? Foreman: I have the top three. But I don’t want to start off by saying the platform is premised by protecting the Nashville way. Having grown up in Nashville, we have a Nashville way of doing things. No one likes politicians. They divide us, they turn neighbors against each other. But that’s not how I was raised growing up here in Nashville. We just didn’t do that. Democrats and Republicans live together. Leahy: So it’s interesting you mentioned the Nashville way. As you know, I must admit, I’m a Yankee way back when. Foreman: It’s okay....
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' wife Casey is now free of breast cancer.   'After going through both treatment and surgery for breast cancer she is now considered cancer free,' the Florida governor said in a video released to Twitter.  'There are no words to express how truly blessed, grateful and humbled I am to hear the words cancer free. To those who are in the fight, know there is hope. Have faith and stay strong,' the Florida first lady added.  Casey, 41, first revealed her diagnosis in October. Inspired by his wife's battle, DeSantis has proposed increasing the state's budget for cancer research by 60 percent, bringing the total to $100 million.  'For all the woman who are going through breast cancer right now, you can overcome this. I know it’s very difficult, but my wife is proof-positive,' the governor said. 'She still has more to do but I'm confident she’s gonna make a full recovery,' he continued. In recent months, Casey, a former television host who plays  a visible role in her husband's administration, has been making visits to children's hospitals...
    Married Republican Rep. Van Taylor dropped his bid for reelection Wednesday after apologizing for having a nine-month affair with the so-called 'ISIS bride.' 'Today I am announcing I will not continue my campaign to seek reelection to Congres,' Taylor emailed supporters, according to The Dallas Morning News. 'About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in this world. I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life.' Taylor had been headed to a runoff against former Collin County judge Keith Self, when he didn't hit the plus-50 per cent threshold in Tuesday's Texas GOP primary, after his nine-month affair with Tania Joya was exposed by conservative news outlets.  Married Republican Rep. Van Taylor dropped his bid for reelection Wednesday after apologizing for having a nine-month affair with the so-called 'ISIS bride' Tania Joya was born in London to a Muslim Bangladeshi family and became radicalized at the age of 17, after the September 11 terror attacks Joya, born in London to a Muslim Bangladeshi family, became...
    From left to right: Reps. Andrew Clyde, Thomas Massie, and Chip Roy In a long-awaited win, the House of Representatives passed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which would make lynching a federal hate crime. Yes, for those of you who did not know: Lynching was not a federal hate crime before. The bill passed Monday night, 422 votes to 3. The legislation would have passed with unanimous support if it weren't for three Republicans who voted against the bill, Reps. Andrew Clyde, Thomas Massie, and Chip Roy. The bill aims to amend Section 249, Title 18 of the U.S. Code to specify lynching as a hate crime act. According to the bill, anyone who conspires to commit such an act resulting in death or serious bodily injury shall be punished by up to 30 years in jail. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, who introduced the bill, issued a statement following the bill’s passage. He recalled the killing of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy after whom the bill is named. Till was killed in 1955 by a group that accused him of flirting with a white woman. “I was...
    The Republican bona fide status of two candidates for the Republican nomination for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, recent Tennessee arrivals Morgan Ortagus and Robby Starbuck, have been challenged, sources tell The Tennessee Star. Once a challenge to a candidate’s Republican bona fide status has been filed and verified as valid, that candidate is off the August 4 Republican primary ballot. The burden of proof to be restored to the ballot lies with the candidate. Tennessee GOP (TNGOP) Chair Scott Golden told The Star on Friday that the party has received challenges to a number of candidates who have announced their intention to run in the August 2022 Republican primary, but the party will not begin the process of verifying the validity of those challenges until later in this coming week: We have received letters concerning the credentials of Republicans wishing to be on the August primary ballot; however we have not verified their validity. And we will not be begin that process until the May primary ballot is set on March 3rd. The protest period for the August primary ends...
    With President Joe Biden poised to nominate the first black woman to the Supreme Court to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer by the end of February, the White House has been in contact with a trio of Republican senators in hopes of gaining bipartisan support. The White House has been in direct communication with Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, all of whom have voted for at least 60% of Biden's judicial nominees. Biden's Supreme Court nominee would not necessarily need Republican votes to be confirmed, assuming all 50 senators in the Democratic Caucus support her, along with Vice President Kamala Harris's tiebreaking vote. But a least some Republican support would bolster the bipartisan bona fides of Biden, the former two-term vice president and 36-year Delaware senator, including a long stint as Judiciary Committee chairman. Collins, Graham, and Murkowski also voted for Biden's nominee on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is seen as a contender to succeed Breyer. BIDEN...
    Washington (CNN)The three words about the US Capitol attack that have sparked a firestorm inside the Republican Party -- "legitimate political discourse" -- were not included in early drafts of the resolution to censure Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, a person involved in the process tells CNN, but were added as the document was edited late last week at a meeting of the Republican National Committee in Salt Lake City.One early draft, which denounced the two lawmakers for taking part in a House select committee investigation into the January 6, 2021, attack described the inquiry as "a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in nonviolent and legal political discourse."The RNC was originally trying to expel Cheney, of Wyoming, and Kinzinger, of Illinois, from the Republican Party, but that effort was watered down amid objections from some members of the committee and congressional GOP leaders. Trump sets off yet another GOP civil war, risking partys midterm strategyIn the course of editing the language, a person involved in the process said, the words "nonviolent and legal" were ultimately replaced by "legitimate"...
    Using former vice president Mike Pence's speech last week, where he broke with Donald Trump on his attempt to steal the 2020 presidential election, as a springboard, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal ripped into the former president and called on the Republican Party to regain its moorings. The board praised Pence for making a big step forward and urged the GOP to move away from Trump because the United States needs a "sane" Republican Party. "The United States desperately needs a Republican Party that is a sane alternative to the ruling Democrats who have lurched to the coercive left. On that score, Americans should welcome Mike Pence’s stand Friday for constitutional principle on elections no matter its political cost," they wrote before turning their ire on Trump for his unconstitutional attempt at throwing out the presidential election results. "Mr. Pence stands out as a rare Republican these days willing to stand up to Mr. Trump’s disgraceful behavior after the election. Too many in the GOP seem to have lost their constitutional moorings in thrall to one man,"...
    by Andrew Trunsky   For the first time since then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lowered the threshold to confirm a Supreme Court nominee from 60 votes to a simple majority, Democrats have a Senate majority. Despite Democrats’ advantage being as slim as it can be in the 50-50 split chamber, their majority means that there is little Republicans can do to block anybody whom President Joe Biden nominates, assuming his party votes unanimously to confirm. Biden has also vowed to nominate a black woman, meaning his pick will likely be the first to ever serve on the Supreme Court. And while any successor to Justice Stephen Breyer is all but certain to receive fewer votes than the 87 he garnered in 1994, there are several Republicans worth watching as the confirmation battle heats up and as speculation grows over whom Biden will pick, a decision he has said he will announce by the end of February. Lindsey Graham South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has voted to confirm 62% of Biden’s judicial nominees since the president took office just in 2021, according to...
    New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed off on a new congressional map Thursday that analysts believe is more favorable to Democrats than the prior map. The new map has drawn criticism from state Republicans who have accused the Democrats of "illegally gerrymandering themselves into permanent power" and have said they are evaluating their legal options. NEW YORK LEGISLATURE PASSES CONGRESSIONAL MAP THAT COULD FLIP THREE SEATS TO DEMOCRATS "These bills are necessary to reapportion districts and to provide certainty and clarity regarding such districts in a timely manner, allowing for efficient administration of the electoral process. The enactment of these bills marks the culmination of the legal process of redistricting," said a document indicating that Hochul had signed the redistricting legislation. The new map could tilt Democrats' 19-8 hold on the state's congressional seats to 22–4, marking one of the biggest seat shifts in the country, according to Dave Wasserman, a national elections analyst with the Cook Political Report. The new map has also caught the attention of former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio,...
    The New York Legislature approved a congressional map Wednesday that has Republicans in an uproar. The new map, which now heads to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her signature, could help Democrats increase their 19-8 domination of congressional seats in the state to 22–4, according to Dave Wasserman, a national elections analyst with the Cook Political Report. DEMOCRATS SUDDENLY QUIET ABOUT NEW YORK'S GERRYMANDERING "These maps are the most brazen and outrageous attempt at rigging the election to keep Nancy Pelosi as Speaker," Nick Langworthy, chairman of the New York Republican Party, said in a statement. "For all of their phony protestations about transparency and fairness in elections, what they're doing is textbook filthy, partisan gerrymandering that is clearly in violation of the New York State Constitution." Langworthy noted the state's Republican Party is exploring possible legal options against the map. The map passed the state Assembly 103–45 and the Senate 43–20 later in the day. Both are controlled by Democrats. Hochul, also a Democrat, has not publicly stated that she will approve the map, according...
                 The General Assembly started out Tuesday with a 7 a.m. House of Delegates subcommittee meeting where Republicans passed some election reforms bills, and ended the day in a lengthy Senate committee meeting where Democrats killed seven of Senator Amanda Chase’s (R-Chesterfield) election reform bills. The House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee One heard three bills focused on absentee voting, voter photo identification and voter registration. Delegate Lee Ware (R-Goochland) introduced House Bill 46, which bundles a voter photo identification requirement with a repeal of Virginia’s permanent absentee voter list, reduces early voting from 45 days to just seven days, and requires ballots received after Election Day to be postmarked at least one day before Election Day. “These measures provide first an abundant opportunity to exercise the sacred right to vote, while doing due diligence to ensure that the voters who vote are eligible to do so. Many of you know that I spent 32 years in the classroom, and one class that I taught every year was government,” Ware told the subcommittee. “One of the things that I taught...
    Members of the Ohio Senate Government Oversight Committee hear testimony on a new map of state congressional districts at the Ohio StatehouseJulie Carr Smyth/AP Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.In a 4-3 decision Friday, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the state’s new congressional maps, saying that Republicans had illegally submitted districts that heavily favored GOP candidates.  The court’s opinion, written by Justice Michael Donnelly, concluded that Republicans had violated a state constitutional amendment prohibiting partisan gerrymandering that Ohio voters had overwhelmingly voted to approve in 2018.  “When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins,” reads the opinion. “That perhaps explains how a party that generally musters no more than 55 percent of the statewide popular vote is positioned to reliably win anywhere from 75 percent to 80 percent of the seats in the Ohio congressional delegation. By any rational measure, that skewed result just does not add up.” Ohio does lean Republican, but out of 15 congressional districts, the new maps contained only...
    Retiring GOP Rep. Trey Hollingsworth Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth announced Thursday that he would not seek a fourth term in Indiana’s safely red 9th District in a very unexpected move that bookends what has been a short but surprising congressional career. The revised version of this southeastern Indiana seat, which includes Bloomington, backed Donald Trump 63-35, and Republicans should have no trouble holding onto it. Hollingsworth had given no obvious indication that he was looking to hit the eject button, especially since he had no serious primary or general election on the horizon. The congressman, though, used an op-ed in IndyStar to remind readers that he’d pledged to only serve four terms total, continuing, “I want to be the change I want to see in this world, so, as I contemplate how I can work for you in new and better ways in the future, I won’t run for reelection this year.” Hollingsworth added, “I ran for Congress to return this government to the people from the career politicians who had broken it, and I will be damned if I...
    (CNN)Sen. Mark Kelly raised nearly $9 million in the final three months of 2021, a figure that surpasses what he raised in the previous three months and positions the Arizona Democrat to be one of the best funded candidates in the 2022 midterms.Kelly is seen as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the United States Senate. Although he defeated former Republican Sen. Martha McSally in 2020 and President Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Arizona since 1996, Republicans are buoyant that voters have soured on Democratic control and will punish the party at the ballot box in 2022.But Kelly's significant fundraising ability could be a bright spot for Democrats in an otherwise challenging year. The Kelly campaign is set to report that they entered the year with over $18.5 million in the bank and in the fourth quarter, according to the campaign, more than 125,000 contributors made 250,000 donations with an average contribution of $34. "Just as Mark has refused to slow down as he delivers for Arizonans, neither have the grassroots donors who continue...
    ‘ Big lie, big anger and big money’: Robert Reich exposes the ‘three powerful forces’ America will have to stop in order to save its democracy American economist Robert Reich is highlighting his concerns about the fragility of America’s democracy while exposing the three forces that will need to be stopped in order save it. In an op-ed published by The Guardian, Reich began by citing the dominant problem Democratic lawmakers are faced with: yet another roadblock for President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. With lawmakers adjourned for the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays, the president’s critical agenda is now being pushed into the midterm election year. As a result of that looming problem, Reich poses a compelling question: “What should be his, and the Democrats’, first priority when Congress returns in January?” As the election year approaches, not only will Republican lawmakers be focused on stalling the Democratic agenda, but also their assault on election laws and congressional maps by way of gerrymandering in hopes of continuing their assault on voting rights. “Republican state...
    There are now 23 Democrats who won't seek reelection in the 2022 midterms as Representative Albio Sires from New Jersey plans to retire and party leadership desperately grips their slim majority in the House. 'When he retires at the end of his term, our Caucus and the Congress will truly miss his tireless voice For The People,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday. Sires, the Washington Post notes, is planning to officially announce his retirement after his eighth term in early 2022 and will endorse as his replacement Robert Menendez, Jr., the son of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. The news comes after Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard became the 22nd House Democrat to announce she won't run for reelection in next year's midterms. 'Serving my constituents in Congress has been the single most distinguished honor of my life,' she wrote on Twitter Monday. 'Over my many years of public service, I have always strived to do that which is best to help improve my community and my country.' 'After thirty years in the House of Representatives, the time...
    The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Daniel Donner, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● NM Redistricting: New Mexico's Democratic-run legislature passed a new congressional map over the weekend, making some changes to a previous iteration that lawmakers had introduced last week (and had received preliminary approval in a committee). The state House also passed a map for its own districts aimed at improving Native representation, while a Senate committee replaced a map that shared the same goal with one designed to avoid double-bunking Republican incumbents, earning the opposition of tribal leaders; its final fate is not yet clear. The congressional map, which now goes to Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, still intends to create three seats that Democrats can win. The final version seeks to balance out the 1st and 3rd Districts on a partisan basis compared to the initial map, making the 3rd a little bluer by having the 1st take in some more rural...
    The billionaire Publix heiress who bankrolled the January 6 MAGA rally with donations totaling $650,000 is being investigated by a House committee. Julie Fancelli, 72, wired the sums from her Tuscan villa, where she grows olives and grapes, to three organizations that staged and promoted the pro-Donald Trump Stop the Steal and Save America protests that turned into the Capitol riots. The daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins is the largest known donor to the rally and is now facing public scrutiny as the committee probes its financing. Fancelli, whose sister Carol died of complications from Alzheimer's disease on Tuesday, is a big supporter of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and frequently sent friends and family emails with links to his videos in the weeks leading up to the riots and spoke with him on the phone before making the donations. Jones, who pushed the theory that Trump was a victim of election fraud, also allegedly contributed more than $50,000 in seed money to the event in exchange for a 'top speaking slot of his choice'. She donated:  $300,000 to Women for...
    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A new congressional map for Maryland’s eight U.S. House seats moved closer to final passage Wednesday, with supporters calling it an improvement on a map long criticized for gerrymandering, and opponents saying it remains unfairly drawn to favor Democrats — and could even endanger the state’s only Republican congressman. The Maryland Senate advanced legislation outlining the new boundaries already passed by the Maryland House. Senators were set to vote later Wednesday. READ MORE: Baltimore Man Charged With Murder In Deadly October ShootingOutside the Maryland State House, supporters of redistricting reform rallied for a change in how the map is drawn, with an open application process for citizens to serve on a redistricting commission whose members would be chosen by someone who is not a politician. “We still don’t have the process that we want, a fair open process that is done by a large broad range of citizens, not elected officials, and that is appointed by a neutral party,” said Nancy Soreng, who is co-president of the League of Women Voters of Maryland. Democrats, who have...
    If watching laws supposedly passed to ban critical race theory (CRT) from public K-12 schools used to try to ban children’s books about Martin Luther King Jr. and Ruby Bridges doesn’t convince you that the whole CRT panic is really about preserving white supremacy, check out what happens when the sponsor of an anti-CRT bill gets asked about actual slavery. In a clear response to The 1619 Project, a New Hampshire bill would prohibit “teaching that the United States was founded on racism.” New Hampshire state Rep. Erica Layton abused the truth and the discipline of history in her answer to a question about the Three-fifths Compromise, which simultaneously denied enslaved people full humanity and gave slave states additional representation in Congress by counting enslaved people as partial humans for political purposes. They had no rights—certainly not to liberty or the pursuit of happiness, and indeed not to life—but their existence in bondage gave their captors and tormentors added political power if they were counted. That’s not the way Layton told it, though. Adam Sexton, a reporter for New Hampshire ABC affiliate WMUR,...
              more   Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce introduced a resolution for the Maricopa County Republican Party to censure three state lawmakers for opposing an amendment to a bill to expand school vouchers. The Maricopa County GOP will vote on whether to approve the resolution against State Rep. Joel John (R-Buckeye), State Rep. Joanne Osborne (R-Goodyear), and State Rep. Michelle Udall (R-Mesa) in January at its next meeting. The amendment was added by State Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix) to the K-12 budget bill HB 2898 this past legislative session. The three joined with Democrats to defeat it 28-28. Bolick told The Arizona Sun Times, “The same House legislators who rolled the GOP House caucus on SCR 1044 voted against Arizona’s own families when they voted against my amendment. Yet they support reduced tuition for all illegals.” Bolick is referring to how Udall brought SCR 1044 to the House floor for a vote, even though it did not have the votes and was not debated. If passed, it would have provided reduced college tuition for all illegal immigrants, not just Dreamers....
    (CNN)Two challengers to the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for large employers are trying to ensure that their case is decided as quickly as possible by a majority of judges appointed by Republican presidents. They are asking that the challenges be heard by the full federal appeals court where Republican-appointed judges outnumber those nominated by Democrats nearly 2-to-1, bypassing the possibility of a liberal-leaning three-judge panel hearing the case.Military vaccination mandate dispute pits Pentagon against Oklahoma National GuardSuch a move to leapfrog usual procedures would speed up resolution of the appeal by cutting out the customary step of the three-judge panel but also could have strategic benefits for the challengers who argue that the administration exceeded its authority in issuing the mandate that employers of 100 or more workers require them to get vaccinated against Covid-19.That's because the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals -- which was chosen by ping-pong ball lottery to hear the cases -- is composed of 10 active judges nominated by Republican presidents and six by Democratic presidents. The thinking goes that a full panel of judges...
    For the first time since it was created in 1990, the independent commission tasked with redrawing Washington State’s congressional and legislative district lines on Monday failed to agree to final terms on proposed map lines. Commissioners had until midnight Monday to agree on final district lines, and they debated over boundaries until the last possible minute. The commission took a vote at midnight to approve new lines, though they did not release those lines publicly. By Tuesday morning, a planned press conference to highlight the new maps was scrubbed, and commissioners admitted defeat.  “Last night, after substantial work marked by mutual respect and dedication to the important task, the four voting commissioners on the state redistricting commission were unable to adopt a districting plan by the midnight deadline,” the commission said in a statement Tuesday.  The commissioners blamed the late release of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and litigation over decisions made by the Trump administration.   Several other states have either sought court orders to extend their own redistricting deadlines or...
    The polls are now closed in Florida’s heavily blue-leaning 20th congressional district in the race to fill a House of Representatives seat left vacant following the April death of longtime Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings. Eleven candidates are running in their party’s primary, and the winner of the Democratic contest will be considered the overwhelming favorite in the January 11 general election. Two Republican candidates are running in their party’s primary. The district includes most of the majority-Black precincts in and around Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, as well as a vast sparsely populated inland area that stretches all the way to the southeastern shores of Lake Okeechobee, including the community of Belle Glade. CLICK HERE FOR FOX NEWS ELECTION 2021 LIVE UPDATES National and state Democrats were critical of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida for not setting the primary date until now and the general election until January. Democrats charged DeSantis delayed scheduling the contest in the overwhelmingly blue district in order to cut the Democrats House majority by one seat. Polls close at 7:30 pm ET in...
    A Florida man is facing backlash and daily fines after he hung roughly three-story-tall banners reading "Trump Won" and "Let's Go Brandon." Marvin Peavy is being fined $50 a day because his display violates the county's land development code, according to a report . "I'm here on the beach, and I got a lot of traffic, and people needed to see what I believe in," Peavy said. "That's free speech, and I wanted everyone to know that I'm a Republican and I'm supporting Donald Trump." 'LET'S GO BRANDON' CHANT HITS THE STREETS The code is meant to preserve the visual aesthetics of the community and the local beach, but Peavy said the daily fines are a violation of his free speech . Some officials have echoed his sentiment. "People admire people that stand up, and we have got to start standing up," said Chairman of the Walton County Republican Executive Committee Bill Fletcher, referring to Peavy. "He is the epitome of somebody who will stand up for his First Amendment right." "I'm...
    Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that three western Maryland counties would be welcome to secede and join his state. “We welcome these counties and would be tickled to death to have them and the great folks of that incredible state,” Justice said in a press release. State lawmakers representing Allegany, Garrett and Washington Counties submitted letters Thursday to West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair and State House Speaker Roger Hanshaw requesting that the West Virginia legislature approve legislation allowing them to join the state. (RELATED: Republican Maryland Lawmakers Request Secession, Ask To Join West Virginia) Today I joined legislative leaders to announce our support to make three western Maryland counties part of West Virginia. We’ve had so much success in the Mountain State – why wouldn’t others want to join us? ⛰️ ???? Read more ⬇️ https://t.co/SUIjzRKskX — Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) October 22, 2021 Allegany, Garrett and Washington are the three of the most Republican counties in traditionally Democratic Maryland. Then-President Donald Trump won all three, putting up his two highest margin victories in Garrett...
    (CNN)West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Friday that he would welcome three western Maryland counties whose Republican legislators have asked to join the state."Absolutely, without any question, the invitation is wide open," Justice, a Republican, said Friday, adding, "We'd welcome, you know, absolutely these counties and be tickled to death to have them." A handful of Republican lawmakers from Maryland's Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties sent two letters this month to West Virginia's top Republican legislators asking them to consider adding their counties to West Virginia. Such a proposal, however, would be difficult because state legislatures have to approve any moves, followed by the US Congress taking action. "We believe this arrangement may be mutually beneficial for both states and for our local constituencies. Please advise on next steps," the Maryland lawmakers, which includes House Minority Leader Jason Buckel, wrote. The other Maryland lawmakers are Sen. George Edwards, Dels. William Wivell, Wendell Beitzel and Mike McKay. CNN has reached out to the lawmakers for comment.Read MoreJustice on Friday announced his intent to put the issue to a vote in a...
    GOP lawmakers representing Maryland’s three counties bordering West Virginia sent a letter Thursday to the neighboring state’s General Assembly speaker and Senate president, requesting admission into West Virginia. Garret, Allegany and Washington county representatives asked in the two identically worded letters addressed to the West Virginia lawmakers to “consider adding us as constituent counties to the State of West Virginia.” INBOX: The officials who represent Maryland’s three westernmost counties in the General Assembly have asked if their counties can join West Virginia. pic.twitter.com/AaKei1u2Ay — Rachel Baye (@RachelBaye) October 21, 2021 “We believe this arrangement may be mutually beneficial for both states and for our local constituencies. Please advise on next steps,” the officials of the three counties seeking secession wrote. The state voted for Democratic presidential candidates in every election since 1992. However, Biden earned only 38% of the vote in Washington county, 30% in Allegany county and 21% in Garret county, Fox News reported. Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has faced staunch opposition from both state legislatures that have a Democratic majority for a number of initiatives, including...
    FIRST ON FOX: The Republican PAC Winning for Women (WFW) is announcing its first non-incumbent endorsements of the 2022 election cycle on Friday, providing a possible early look at the GOP candidates who have a chance to flip the House for Republicans in 2022.The candidates getting the backing of the PAC are Esther Joy King, Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez and Jen Kiggans. WFW announced a round of endorsements in June, all of freshman Republican women who face tough 2022 reelection challenges. Now this round it is backing Republicans who have a chance to flip similarly competitive seats held by Democrats. Cruz-Hernandez is running in Texas' 15th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas. The moderate Democrat Gonzalez barely beat Cruz-Hernandez in 2020. BIDEN DROPS TO 38% APPROVAL IN NEW NATIONAL POLL King is running to replace retiring Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., in Illinois' 17th Congressional District, which has been trending red in recent years. Winning that open seat will be key to Republicans' plans to take back the House. King – a former aid worker in Kabul,...
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that his wife Casey has been diagnosed with breast cancer. 'I am saddened to report that Florida's esteemed First Lady and my beloved wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer. As the mother of three young children, Casey is the centerpiece of our family and has made an impact on the lives of countless Floridians through her initiatives as First Lady,' the governor said in a statement.  'As she faces the most difficult test of her life, she will have not only have my unwavering support but the support of our entire family, as well as the prayers and well wishes from Floridians across our state. Casey is a true fighter, and she will never, never, never give up.'  The governor did not say at what stage the cancer was detected. Casey DeSantis, 41, and her husband are the parents of Madison, 4 years old, Mason, three years old and Mamie, 18 months.  Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that his wife Casey has been diagnosed with breast cancer Casey DeSantis, 41, and her...
    Reuters legal reporter Jan Wolfe revealed Monday evening that two Republican Party operatives have been indicted after helping Russians donate to political campaigns in 2016. The Justice Department revealed in a statement that Kentucky's Jesse Benton and Florida's Roy Douglas "Doug" Wead were "charged with one count of conspiracy to solicit and cause an illegal campaign contribution by a foreign national, effect a conduit contribution, and cause false records to be filed with the FEC, one count of contribution by a foreign national, one count of contribution in the name of another and three counts of making false entries in an official record." Benton was just pardoned by former President Donald Trump for a bribery scandal while working for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in Iowa in 2012. In that scheme, Benton and colleague John Tate bribed state officials to change their endorsements to Paul for the Iowa Caucus. After being pardoned for that, Benton is now being indicted again along with Wead for arranging for a Russian National who wanted to donate to a 2016 presidential campaign to be able...