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This Election Isn’t Just About the Presidency: Control of 12 State Governorships Is Also at Stake

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Is Your State One of Them?

This year’s election contests aren’t just going to be a big day for the presidential race. There are numerous state and local officers up for election. Because we know just how important – perhaps even more so – these down-ballot races can be, we here at The New Civil rights Movement are breaking down the other races and what initiatives progressives should be paying attention to as they head to the ballot box on Tuesday. 

In this article we look at the 12 states that have governor races.

Keep in mind, Republican governors currently control 34 states and territories, Democratic governors only 18.

North Carolina 

There’s a good chance you know the names Pat McCrory and Roy Cooper.

McCrory is the incumbent, Republican governor who’s responsible for pushing and signing into law the horribly anti-LGBTQ (and more specifically, anti-trans) “bathroom bill” HB2 in one day. He’s lost his state hundreds of millions of dollars and recent polling puts him at a slight – not not major – disadvantage to his Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper.

Roy Cooper, for his part, has spoken against HB2 numerous times and has refused to defend it in court.  

Indiana

If there’s any good to come from a Donald Trump candidacy, it was his choice of Indiana’s governor as a running mate, which got Mike Pence out of the office. Pence is the guy who helped push through Indiana’s so-called “religious liberty”/RFRA bill that enabled discrimination against LGBTQ people, among others. He also used HIV-research money for converstion therapy programs and more than a few other hits to the LGBTQ community. Suffice it to say he’s no ally.

Running to replace him are Democrat John Gregg and Republican Eric Holcomb. Gregg has branded himself as the LGBTQ-friendly alternative to Holcomb, though even his own record of acceptance is a bit rocky. However, Holcomb has long been branded as a close ally of Pence’s and has aligned himself with Pence’s old conservative allies.

Missouri 

Republican Eric Greitens, a former Navy Seal, is on the ballot against Democrat Chris Koster, the sitting Missouri Attorney General. This past year Missouri debated a very far-reaching “religious freedom”/bathroom bill. Both candidates oppose that bill, but in very different ways. 

Greitens has said “people of faith are under attack in America” but also says bathroom access should be “handled by schools and families.” He has, however, repeated the oft-told lie that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity would allow “grown men into little girls’ bathrooms.”

Koster, for his part, has been very vocal on his support for LGBTQ people and families. 

Delaware

Congressman John Carney (Democrat) and State Senator Colin Bonini (Republican) are vying for the business-centric state’s executive office. Carney endorsed marriage equality as a congressman back in 2013 while Bonini voted against it as a state legislator. The state is expected to remain solidly Democrat.

Montana 

Democrat Steve Bullock is seeking re-election and is challenged by Republican Greg Gianforte. Gianforte hasn’t been very vocal about LGBTQ rights but Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden uncovered past lobby efforts against LGBTQ rights and his foundation has donated more than $1.1 million to organizations that oppose LGBTQ rights. The latest polls have Bullock just about 2 points ahead of Gianforte.

New Hampshire

Colin Van Ostern (Democrat), Chris Sununu (Republican) are joined by a libertarian and two independents in the race for governor. Van Ostern has been vocal in his support for LGBTQ rights while Sununu has been noticeably silent.

North Dakota

Marvin Nelson, the Democratic former state legislator, is one of the few candidates we’ve seen in any governor’s race to explicitly state they are anti-discrimination on their campaign website. His opponent, Republican businessman Doug Burgum, describes himself as a small-government conservative. He’s also made it a point to say he’s not running on social issues.

When discussing the oil pipeline at Standing Rock, Nelson expressed sympathy with the Sioux Tribe while Burgum said the issue has presented a new opportunity for “dialogue.”

Oregon 

Democrats have controlled the state since 1987 and it seems this cylce will be no exception. Kate Brown, the incumbment, became governor about a year ago when her predecessor resigned. She’s the first openly bisexual governor in the US and has put non-discrimination and equality at the center of her campaign. Her opponent, Republican Bud Pierce, has stayed notably silent on LGBTQ rights, but he was forced to apologize after an offensive gaffe during a discussion of domestic violence during a recent debate.

Utah

Republican incumbent Gary Herbert is currently polling at 63% against Democract Mike Weinholtz virtually guaranteeing that only something drastic could endanger his chances of a clear win on Tuesday. For what it’s worth, Weinholtz has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ equality.

Vermont 

Both candidates, Sue Minter (D) and Phil Scott (R), have been noticeably silent on LGBTQ rights, though the state does have a legacy of equality and inclusion.

Washington

Jay Inslee, the current Democractic governor, is endorsed by numerous LGBTQ groups for his history of working for LGBTQ equality. His opponent, Republican Bill Bryant, has said LGBTQ people deserve protection from discrimination but inclusive bathroom laws “put the rights of one group over another.”  Inslee is currently polling at 50% against Bryant’s 40%. 

West Virginia

The race to be the next govenor of West Viriginia may well be the strangest in the nation. Democrat Jim Justice is a billionaire coal baron who “promises to shake up the establishment.” He’s self-funded his campaign to the tune of $2.2 million dollars, but none of that seems to matter as West Virginia is one of Trump’s strongest states. His opponent, Republican Bill Cole, is currently up 44% to Justice’s 33%.

Cole has gone on record saying he’s against marriage equality while Justice says “the Supreme Court’s decision should be respected,” though he’s “for religious freedom without government intervention”.

  

Coming Saturday: A look at some of the key US Senate races to watch.

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BREAKING NEWS

Watch: Bill Barr Has Talked to Jan. 6 Committee Says Chairman

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Bill Barr, the former Attorney General who served as then-President Donald Trump’s top protector, has spoken with the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), asked by CBS News about a bombshell draft executive order directing the Secretary of Defense to seize voting machines after Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, said: “We’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already. We have talked to Department of Defense individuals.”

“We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false,” Thompson said Sunday morning on “Face the Nation.”

“So, if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know. We’ve never had that before.”

The draft memo was never formalized or enacted, and it is unknown who wrote it, but it was part of a massive, hard-fought document collection given to the Jan. 6 Committee by the National Archives after the Supreme Court refused to block its release. Trump tried for months to keep his official White House records from being released.

Watch:

 

 

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News

Trump Instructed Michael Cohen to Make Sure Don Jr. Went to Jail Instead of Ivanka

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According to a report from Business Insider, Michael Cohen admitted on Saturday that Donald Trump instructed him in 2012 to make sure that Don Trump Jr. be the one to take the fall instead of Ivanka Trump during an investigation by Manhattan’s district attorney into lying about property sales.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Alex Witt, Cohen recalled that the former president was concerned about Ivanka’s well-being if she was sentenced to jail and that Don Jr. would handle it better.

According to the report, Cohen told the MSNBC host, “You may recall that there was the district attorney’s case here for Trump Soho where it was either Don or Ivanka was in very big trouble as a result of lying about the number of units that had been sold.”

RELATED: ’She took that West Wing office!’: Ivanka Trump blasted for trying to ‘blow off’ Jan. 6 probe

“And Donald said it to me – I mean I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t said directly to me – he goes ‘if one or the other has to go to prison, make sure that it’s Don because Don would be able to handle it, ” he continued.

Cohen later said that he doesn’t expect Ivanka to willingly appear before the House committee investigating the Jan 6th insurrection and claimed the first daughter would likely plead the 5th before explaining, “Ivanka is only interested in Ivanka.”

You can read more here.

Image by Walt Disney Television/ABC/Ida Mae Astute via Flickr and a CC license

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CRIME

Trumps Could ‘Turn on One Another’ as Investigations ‘Go Up the Food Chain’: MSNBC Analyst

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Former president Donald Trump and his family are facing “existential” threats from ongoing criminal investigations in New York and Georgia, according to MSNBC political analyst and Trump biographer Tim O’Brien.

“I think you’re going to start to see this vice squeeze in,” O’Brien said Saturday. “The Trumps will happily throw underlings under the bus as this gets hotter. I think the question is whether or not the family members will turn on one another as it goes up the food chain.”

“The Manhattan DA’s case has existential consequences to it,” O’Brien added. “Donald Trump and perhaps his children could end up in orange jumpsuits if that case goes the full route. That’s not going to be the case with (New York AG) Letitia James’ prosecution, that’s a civil case. I also think the Georgia case has an existential threat. Donald Trump acting like a 19th-century ward heeler, called up the secretary of state and said find me some votes, and there’s proof of that, there’s evidence.”

Watch the full interview below.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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