The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Embattled first-term Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS) got a surprising boost on Friday, in the form of a video message from Mike Pence.

In the video, Pence thanked Kansans for supporting Watkins and endorsed him as “awesome.”

Watkins posted the crudely shot video on Twitter on Friday afternoon with the re-election slogan “#WinWithWatkins.”

Last year, Watkins narrowly held the solidly Republican Kansas 2nd Congressional District. In the weeks prior to the election, he was accused of sexually assaulting an acquaintance some 12 years earlier. The woman told the Topeka Capital-Journal that Watkins had allegedly locked the door of a room, put his hands on her, and made unwelcome sexual advances.

Watkins’ campaign dismissed the allegations as “preposterous.”

The Kansas Republican also faced allegations during that race of lying about his qualifications. One local party chairman expressed concern vowed that the party would “replace him in two years” if the allegations proved true.

Since taking office, Watkins has not gained the trust of many in his party. Last month, he was forced to deny rumors that he was about to resign.

Days later, former Gov. Jeff Colyer (R-KS) backed a 2020 primary challenge to the congressman, calling the district’s residents “solid, conservative folks” who “deserve to be represented by a Republican who shares their values.” He slammed Watkins for “poor fundraising and a lack of coalition building.”

At Colyer’s urging, Kansas State Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R) announced that he would drop his planned Senate bid and instead mount a primary challenge to Watkins.

The Trump administration did not immediately respond to an inquiry about whether the video constituted a formal endorsement and whether Pence was aware of the sexual assault allegations against Watkins.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}