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Walker Fits Pattern Of Anti-Choice Republicans Who Allegedly Paid For Abortions

The Daily Beast reported on Monday that in 2009, Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker allegedly paid for a woman he got pregnant to have an abortion.

Walker has denied the Beast's reporting, calling the story a "flat-out lie" and a "repugnant hatchet job" and threatening to sue the news outlet for defamation.

During his Senate campaign, Walker has alluded to the idea that abortion should be banned in all circumstances, including when the life of the pregnant person is at risk.

"There's no exception in my mind," Walker told reporters in May. "Like I say, I believe in life. I believe in life."

The Beast’s story is an “October Surprise” for the Georgia Senate race, which finds Democrats fighting to hold on to the seat that Sen. Raphael Warnock won in a special election in January 2021.

Walker isn't the first Republican whose public stance on abortion rights has conflicted with his alleged private actions.

Two other Republicans running in November have been accused of either paying for or encouraging women in their lives to have abortions despite claiming to oppose the procedure.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) allegedly encouraged both his wife and his lover to get abortions. DesJarlais has said he is "100% pro-life."

In the final days of the 2012 election, a transcript of an undated phone conversation between DesJarlais and his ex-wife before their divorce was finalized in 2001 became public.

"You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting too far along without one," DesJarlais allegedly told his wife. "If we need to go to Atlanta, or whatever, to get this solved and get it over with so we can get on with our lives, then let's do it."

DesJarlais won reelection in 2012 against a Democrat in his heavily Republican district. In 2014, he faced a primary challenge from a Republican state legislator and eked out a win by just 38 votes. DesJarlais has comfortably won reelection since then.

Then there's Mike Erickson, the Republican nominee in Oregon's newly created Sixth Congressional District.

In the early 2000s, Erickson allegedly drove his girlfriend to a doctor's office and paid $300 for her to get an abortion.

The revelation first came to light in 2008, when Erickson ran a failed campaign for Congress on a "pro-life" platform. He's now running for Congress again against a pro-abortion rights Democrat in a race rated a "tilt Democratic" contest by Inside Elections.

A fourth self-described "pro-life" Republican ended up resigning from Congress in 2017 after reports surfaced that he had encouraged a woman with whom he had had an affair to get an abortion.

Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania resigned after a text message from the woman leaked. She told Murphy that he had "zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options."

Murphy allegedly encouraged the woman to have an abortion, despite being a member of the House "Pro-Life Caucus" and despite having voted for a national abortion ban.

Abortion is a major issue in the 2022 midterm elections. This summer, the Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which had affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion before fetal viability, around 24 weeks gestation.

Polling shows that most Americans disagree with the court's decision and think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Democrats have been hammering GOP candidates on the airwaves for their opposition to abortion.

In Georgia, a Quinnipiac poll found that abortion rights are at the top of voters' minds. That same poll found Warnock leading Walker 52 percent to 46 percent.

A poll published Tuesday by NARAL Pro-Choice America found that 62 percent of Georgia voters oppose the overturning of Roe.

Inside Elections rates the Georgia Senate race a "toss-up" contest.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Arizona GOP Attorney General Nominee Vows To Enforce Total Abortion Ban

Abraham Hamadeh said he would enforce the state's total ban on abortion at a time when most voters believe it should be legal to some degree.

The Republican seeking to be the top law enforcement officer in Arizona said that if elected, he would enforce the state's near-total ban on abortion currently on the books.

"I think we have to understand the role of the attorney general. As attorney general, I enforce the laws," Abraham Hamadeh, the GOP nominee for attorney general, said Wednesday night during a debate with Democratic attorney general nominee Kris Mayes in Phoenix. "We have to understand the role of attorney general is not to set policy. So I currently agree with [Attorney] General [Mark] Brnovich's position that the law is the law. You know, I don't want to make the law. That's the job of the Legislature."

Hamadeh, who says that the 2020 presidential election was "rigged" against former President Donald Trump and has Trump's endorsement, went on to call Mayes' vow not to enforce the ban "dangerous."

"People are electing us to actually uphold the law," Hamadeh said.

Abortion in Arizona is prohibited in all instances, except if the life of the pregnant person is at risk, after a judge in the state ruled on Sept. 23 that a Civil War-era ban from 1864, decades before Arizona became a state, could go into effect.

The ban, which was codified in 1901, states, "A person who provides, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or procures such woman to take any medicine, drugs or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two years nor more than five years."

The ban had been blocked by the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion before fetal viability, or around 24 weeks' gestation. After the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization in June that overturned Roe, an Arizona Superior Court judge ruled that the law can once again go into effect.

At the debate, Mayes criticized Hamadeh for his vow to enforce the abortion ban.

"Look, I think my opponent just admitted that he thinks it's ok to ban all abortions in the state of Arizona under a law that dates to 1864," Mayes said. "Let's remember, that was the Civil War. It was a time when women couldn't even vote and women are going to die. Women and girls are going to die because of this 1901 law and people like my opponent and [current Republican Attorney General] Mark Brnovich are forcing it on women of the state of Arizona."

Abortion has become a major issue in the 2022 midterm elections following the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe.

Polling finds voters disapprove of the Roe reversal by wide margins, and support for abortions has increased since the constitutional right to the procedure was stripped away.

In Arizona, a new poll released on Tuesday found that 91% of registered voters in the state want abortion to be legal in at least some circumstances.

Arizona will be one of the key battlegrounds in November. Republicans seek to maintain control of both the attorney general's office and the governor's mansion.

The state has grown more and more competitive in the past decade. In 2020, President Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Arizona in more than 20 years, and Democrats won control of both of the state's Senate seats for the first time in almost 70 years.

The University of Virginia Center for Politics says the race is competitive and will likely mirror the outcome of Arizona's toss-up gubernatorial election, in which anti-abortion GOP nominee Kari Lake is facing off against Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

"Observers expect that Arizona's Trump-aligned GOP ticket will either succeed or fail in unison, given the similarities in their views and rhetoric," the Center for Politics' Louis Jacobson wrote earlier in September. "Polling may eventually show differently, but for now, we're considering this a competitive contest."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

GOP Senators Who Voted For Abortion Ban Flip-Flop Under Midterm Pressure

A number of Republican senators who just two years ago voted to ban abortion nationwide are now trying to distance themselves from that position as polling shows their anti-abortion stance could sink their chances in the November midterm election.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, John Thune of South Dakota, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin all voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act when it was introduced in the Senate in 2020 and 2018. That bill, introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), made it a crime to perform an abortion after 20 weeks' gestation.

But after Graham on September 13 introduced S.4840, listed officially as "A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to protect pain-capable unborn children, and for other purposes," which would criminalize abortion after 15 weeks' gestation, those same Republicans now say regulation of abortion should be left to the states.

Asked whether Republicans would put the bill to a vote if they regained a majority in the Senate, McConnell said, "I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level."

But in 2018, when McConnell was Senate majority leader, he put a nationwide 20-week abortion ban on the floor for a vote.

"There is no reason why this should be a partisan issue," McConnell said on the Senate floor on January 29, 2018. "I hope that my Democratic colleagues will not obstruct the Senate from taking up this bill."

Cornyn has also reversed his position on a nationwide abortion ban.

According to Politico, Cornyn said of Graham's bill: "There's obviously a split of opinion in terms of whether abortion law should be decided by the states … and those who want to set some sort of minimum standard. I would keep an open mind on this but my preference would be for those decisions to be made on a state-by-state basis."

But in January 2018, Cornyn supported Graham's 20-week ban and lamented the fact that it didn't pass, tweeting: "Who among us thinks it's appropriate to have an elective abortion after five months when a child can feel pain? I'm disappointed in my colleagues who voted to block the pain-capable legislation today."

Polling has shown that public opinion about abortion is dramatically different from that of Republican lawmakers since the Supreme Court ruling in June in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that affirmed the right nationwide to abortion before fetal viability, which takes place around 24 weeks' gestation.

Surveys show that large majorities of voters want abortion to remain legal in all or most cases, and that they do not support bans.

A poll of registered voters conducted by the Wall Street Journal in late August found that 60 percent say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, a 5-point jump since March.

Graham introduced his bill after some Republican operatives had been lamenting that the party hadn't presented a unified message about their position on abortion after the Dobbs decision.

"Not having pro-life battleground candidates stake out a clear, unified position on something like a 15-week ban on the day that Dobbs was announced seems like a strategic blunder," GOP pollster Patrick Ruffini tweeted on September 8.

However, the ban contained in Graham's bill is also overwhelmingly unpopular: The Journal poll found 57 percent of voters oppose a ban on abortion at 15 weeks.

Prior to Roe's reversal, Republicans had a two-point average lead on the generic congressional ballot, a measure of which party voters want to see gain control in Congress. Now that lead has evaporated, with Democrats now holding a 1.4-point average lead over Republicans, according to FiveThirtyEight's tracker.

Before the Roe reversal, Republicans were the favorite to capture control in the Senate. However, FiveThirtyEight now gives Democrats a 71 percent chance at keeping the Senate majority.

Democrats, for their part, have been hammering Republicans on the abortion issue, with ad after ad calling the GOP's push to ban the procedure extreme and dangerous.

"Republicans got what they wanted (overturning Roe v. Wade and passing bans in a variety of states) and assumed that voters would be fine with it. They're not, and now Republicans are scrambling to try to stick with their agenda and still appeal to voters," Christina Reynolds, vice president of communications for the pro-abortion rights PAC EMILY's List, tweeted on September 13. "Good luck with that..."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Mastriano Launches Anti-Semitic Attack On Shapiro For Attending Jewish Schools

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano is once again under fire for making what critics are saying were anti-Semitic comments after he attacked his Democratic rival, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, for attending private schools as a child.

Reporter Jacob Kornbluh of The Forward tweeted video of Mastriano saying at a campaign event on Wednesday: "This is something Josh Shapiro can't relate to. He grew up in a privileged neighborhood, attended one of the most privileged schools in the nation as a young man — not college, I'm talking about as a kid — sending his four kids to the same privileged, exclusive, elite school ... we talk about him having disdain for people like us. We saw that."

While Mastriano didn't mention specifically in the speech that the schools Shapiro attended are Jewish, critics say the references act as dogwhistles for Mastriano's audiences.

"Josh went to a Jewish school. This is Mastriano screaming 'Jew' at him," tweeted journalist David Sirota.

University of Chicago Divinity School scholar of Judaic studies Joel Swanson noted: "This 'privileged, exclusive, elite school' to which Josh Shapiro sent his children was a Jewish day school. We all know what Doug Mastriano means by this."

Shapiro attended two private Jewish day schools in suburban Philadelphia, and he and his family are practicing Conservative Jews, members of one of a number of branches of Judaism, following kosher dietary laws and observe other Jewish practices.

Mastriano is a Christian nationalist who has a long history of making anti-Semitic comments.

On multiple occasions, Mastriano has compared political issues in the United States to the Holocaust, the genocidal slaughter during World War II of 6 million Jews and millions of other members of social groups considered unworthy of living by the Nazi regime in Germany.

Mastriano has shared posts on social media that say abortion is "so much" worse than the Holocaust. He reacted to the firing of an actor from a television show over her own comparison of abortion to the Holocaust by posting on Feb. 11, 2021: "Mandalorian star Gina Carano is absolutely correct. The Cancel Culture mob is behaving like its [sic] 1930s Germany." In June 2020 he posted a meme comparing the preservation of the Auschwitz concentration camp as a memorial and a reminder to refusing to remove statues honoring Confederate soldiers that were erected long after the Civil War.

Mastriano has also as recently as last month falsely accused George Soros, the Jewish philanthropist whose family survived the Holocaust, of working with the Nazis during the war.

Mastriano paid thousands of dollars to recruit campaign supporters through the social media website Gab, a haven for anti-Semites and neo-Nazis, including the man who will stand trial on charges of carrying out the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.

Jewish leaders have condemned Mastriano for his anti-Semitism, and Shapiro has featured those criticisms in campaign ads.

Mastriano has tried to blunt the criticism by noting that he had a man who goes by the name "Pastor Don" blow a shofar, a ram's horn trumpet used in Jewish rituals, at one of his campaign events. That in itself drew criticism from Jewish groups, who decry the appropriation of Jewish ritual and symbolism by some Christians for their own purposes.

The Pennsylvania governor's race is drawing national attention as Election Day draws nearer.

Mastriano is vying to take back the governor's mansion for Republicans from term-limited Democrat Tom Wolf in this swing state, which voted for former President Donald Trump in 2016 and President Joe Biden in 2020.

Despite the race being close at the presidential level, polling shows Shapiro with a clear lead with less than two months of campaigning left.

Shapiro has led every public poll in FiveThirtyEight's tracker, giving him an 11.3-point average lead over Mastriano.

Inside Elections, a nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the race Tilt Democratic.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Prominent Republicans Endorsing Democrats Over 'Extremist' GOP Candidates

A growing number of prominent Republicans across the country are ditching their party's nominees in the midterm elections in favor of Democratic candidates, and many others are withholding endorsements, citing the need to fight back against "dangerous extremism." The endorsements come as the midterm election season heads into the home stretch.

More than half of voters in the United States, or 60 percent, will have a candidate on their ballot who either falsely denies the results of the 2020 presidential election or who won't say President Joe Biden was legitimately elected, according to FiveThirtyEight.

"If a Republican thinks the 2020 election was stolen despite multiple investigations finding no evidence of widespread voter fraud, they might not accept the results of the 2024 election, either," writes Nathaniel Rakich, a senior elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight. "And if they're elected this November, they will be in a position to influence, and potentially overturn, the next presidential election."

On Sunday, a Republican state senator in Texas endorsed Democrat Mike Collier for lieutenant governor over incumbent Republican Dan Patrick.

"Dan Patrick is an extremist," state Sen. Kel Seliger said in an appearance on Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA's "Inside Texas Politics." Seliger joined Republican Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley in endorsing Collier over Patrick.

Patrick is a promoter of election conspiracy theories who has pushed former President Donald Trump's voter fraud lies and has made offensive comments in the past.

In March 2020, as the coronavirus began to spread across the country, Patrick pushed against shutdowns for safety's sake and said of older Americans who were considered more vulnerable to the virus: "We'll take care of ourselves. But don't sacrifice the country." Patrick has also railed against academic freedom and teaching about the history of race in the United States. He's said he wants to ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest, but supports an exception if the life of the pregnant person is at risk, and falsely said such situations are "rare."

In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Monday that 150 Republicans, including former lawmakers, business leaders, and staffers to previous Republican governors in Michigan, are endorsing her for reelection over her opponent, Republican Tudor Dixon.

Former Rep. Joe Schwarz, one of the Michigan Republicans who endorsed Whitmer, said in a news release that Whitmer "has proven herself as a strong leader who is fighting to make Michigan a better place for everyone – regardless of your party affiliation."

In Pennsylvania, more than a dozen Republicans have endorsed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro over Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, citing Mastriano's "extremism." In July, nine Republicans backed Shapiro, calling Mastriano and his far-right views "dangerous" and "divisive," and another seven Republicans endorsed Shapiro's bid on August 30.

"I just don't think he [Mastriano] really respects our electoral system and he's even suggested he might appoint some people to be Secretary of State who, in my view, might not be fair in administering elections in this state," former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent said in July.

Like Patrick, Mastriano is an election denier and promoter of conspiracy theories. He was present at the Jan. 6 insurrection by supporters of Trump at the U.S. Capitol and even chartered buses that were used by Trump supporters to travel to the rally preceding the riot. He's being investigated for his involvement in a plot to overturn the 2020 election results by sending a false slate of Republican electors to the Capitol. If elected, he'd have the power to appoint as secretary of state an election denier who could overturn the election results. He has also promised to illegally force every voter to reregister to vote.

"Although I am a long-standing Republican, I am deeply troubled by Doug Mastriano's embrace of dangerous extremism," former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said in a news release. "Josh Shapiro, on the other hand, is a staunch defender of our democratic institutions and will lead Pennsylvania with honor and integrity. I am proud to support his campaign for Governor."

Other Republicans have refused to endorse their own party's nominees in the November midterms, though they haven't backed the Democratic nominee either.

In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan refused to back the GOP nominee for governor, Dan Cox. Hogan said Cox, who also arranged buses to Washington on January 6, 2021, is a "nut" and a "QAnon whack job" who is not "mentally stable."

In Massachusetts, retiring GOP Gov. Charlie Baker refused to endorse Republican nominee Geoff Diehl, another election denier who has also pushed COVID-19 conspiracy theories.

In Arizona, Meghan McCain, the television personality and daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, slammed GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake for being too extreme. Lake has made election denialism a cornerstone of her campaign, and has vowed to jail her Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, for her role in administering the 2020 election.

"Congratulations to my home state for [fully] making the transition to full blown MAGA/conspiracy theory/fraudster," McCain tweeted after Lake's primary win in August. "The voters have spoken - be careful what you wish for…"

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

New Mexico Judge Ousts January 6 Perp From County Commission

A judge in New Mexico ordered that Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin should be removed from office, effective immediately, as a result of Griffin's participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the United States Capitol.

Griffin is a former rodeo rider who cofounded the group Cowboys for Trump. In March, Griffin announced he would not seek reelection. Later that month, a federal judge convicted Griffin of illegally entering restricted U.S. Capitol grounds on the day of the riots led by supporters of former President Donald Trump. In June, Griffin was sentenced to 14 days in jail and was given a $3,000 fine for his role in the attack.

On Tuesday, New Mexico district court judge Francis J. Mathew ruled that Griffin violated the 14th Amendment of the Constitution when he entered the restricted grounds of the Capitol to try to block the transition of power from Trump to President Joe Biden. The 14th Amendment states that anyone who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the United States is barred from holding state or federal office.

In his opinion, Mathew wrote that "political violence predictably occurred at the Capitol on January 6" and that Griffin "made that happen."

The 49-page ruling lays out Griffin's behavior in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 attack, his actions on that day, and the comments he made following his participation in the violent attempt to keep Trump in office.

Ahead of the insurrection, Griffin spoke at a number of "Stop the Steal" rallies across the country, where he vowed there would be "war" and that "there might be some of us that might lose our lives." He added that "We'll win it ... in the ballot box or we'll win it in the street," and threatened to "hunt down" any "sellouts" or "RINOs."

On the day of the insurrection, Griffin threatened then-Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump supporters wanted to block certification of Biden's win.

And he was seen on the inaugural stage set up on the West Terrace of the Capitol shouting, "I love the smell of napalm in the air" after law enforcement had deployed tear gas and pepper spray to try to disperse the violent mob breaking their way into the building. Griffin later declared the insurrection to be "a great day for America" and that "people are ready for fair and legal elections, or this is what you're going to get, and you're going to get more of it."

After the insurrection failed and Biden's win was certified, Griffin said on video that he was going to travel back to Washington, D.C., for Biden's insurrection and vowed that "there's going to be blood running out of that building."

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which helped bring the lawsuit against Griffin, celebrated the judge's ruling.

"This is a historic win for accountability for the January 6th insurrection and the efforts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power in the United States. Protecting American democracy means ensuring those who violate their oaths to the Constitution are held responsible," CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

"This decision makes clear that any current or former public officials who took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and then participated in the January 6th insurrection can and will be removed and barred from government service for their actions."

Other GOP lawmakers — including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) — have also faced attempts to disqualify them from office for their role in the insurrection.

However, judges blocked those efforts from moving forward.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

RNC Chief Ronna McDaniel No Longer Touting 2022 'Red Wave'

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel has walked back her recent predictions of a GOP sweep in the 2022 midterm elections, telling Fox News that while she thinks her side will win, she isn't declaring that there will be a "red wave."

"Of course, I've been saying forever we don't like the phrase 'red wave,'" McDaniel said during an interview on Fox & Friends Monday morning, in response to a question about tightening poll numbers for November races. "We have to earn every single seat in the House and the Senate to take it back."

McDaniel, however, has predicted a "red wave" of popular support sweeping Republicans to victory across the country in November multiple times since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.

Most recently, on Jan. 1 of this year, McDaniel tweeted: "Happy New Year! This is the year a Red Wave sweeps across the country and Republicans retake our majorities in Congress. Let's get to work!"

The RNC's Twitter account has used the phrase dozens of times since Biden's inauguration, including in January, when it tweeted: "It is officially election year! Republicans are ready to sweep this November. #RedWave."

Results of polling of voters about a generic ballot, asking which party they'd like to see control Congress without mentioning specific candidates, now show Democrats with a half-point lead, according to FiveThirtyEight. That's a dramatic shift, as Republicans had held a steady two-point lead on the generic ballot since January.

Democrats have outperformed Biden's 2020 margins in recent special House elections, which FiveThirtyEight says is a sign that the "national political environment right now actually leans toward Democrats."

Democrats' surge in the polls has led election forecasters to scale back their predictions of a Republican wave in November.

FiveThirtyEight now predicts that Democrats have a 66 percent chance of controlling the Senate after the midterms. That's a dramatic shift from June, when it said Republicans had a 60 percent chance of winning control of the Senate and Democrats had a 40 percent chance.

The Cook Political Report called its August 24 article on recent special election results "Red Wave Looks More Like a Ripple" as it downgraded its forecast to a GOP pickup of 10-20 House seats instead of its previous prediction of 20-35 seats.

"In May, @CookPolitical's House outlook was a GOP gain of 20-35 seats. Based on recent developments, we've revised our outlook to a 10-20 seat GOP gain, w/ Dems maintaining control not out of the question," Cook Political Report analyst Dave Wasserman tweeted.

CBS News also scaled back its forecast of a red wave, saying Republicans have had "a tumultuous summer" that has made their advantage appear a little smaller today, trending toward narrow gains instead of a wave.

Observers say Democrats have seen their fortunes rise recently for a number of reasons.

They say the Supreme Court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade's affirmation of a constitutional right to abortion in the United States dramatically shifted the landscape.

And they note a rise in President Joe Biden's approval ratings since Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act and following a drop in gas prices.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Nevada GOP Governor Nominee Greased Donors With Millions In Contracts

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the Republican nominee for governor in Nevada, has given out tens of millions of dollars' worth of contracts from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to companies that donated to his political campaigns, according to records reviewed by the American Independent Foundation.

Since 2014, when Lombardo first ran for sheriff, at least eight donors to his campaigns have received at least $18.7 million in contracts from the LVMPD, which Lombardo oversees.

Some of the contracts have a concrete dollar amount, ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to $17 million. Other contracts are harder to quantify because they encompass ongoing work.

Among the quantifiable contracts is a pair of agreements with Motorola that amount to nearly $17.5 million over 10 years to support the LVMPD's radio systems. Motorola, which has been reported to have a pattern of lobbying law enforcement, has donated $20,000 to Lombardo since 2013, according to filings with the Nevada secretary of state's office.

Another is a 2018 contract Lombardo petitioned for that gave $606,312 to TASER International (now known as Axon), a company that makes tasers and other weapons used by law enforcement. The CEO of the company, Patrick Smith, later donated $2,500 to Lombardo's gubernatorial bid.

In December 2017, Lombardo requested a $394,000 contract for Capriati Construction for a gun range. That contract was increased in February 2018 to $473,000 due to "safety issues." The company has given $5,000 to Lombardo's campaigns.

And in 2015, the Institute For Executive Development received a $102,000 contract for consulting work. The company, which claims to provide "executive coaching, leadership development, and strategic planning" to its clients, was founded by Rick Culley, who gave $1,200 to Lombardo in late 2014.

The other contracts appear to be lucrative as well.

On May 23, 2016, Lombardo successfully sought a five-year contract for the law firm Carbajal & McNutt LLP to represent the LVMPD in "defense of liability claims and causes of action resulting in potential liability; in contract disputes; in employment actions; in bankruptcy proceedings as the Attorney's expertise and experience may allow."

The same day the contract with the law firm was approved, Lombardo received a $3,000 donation from the firm, according to filings with the Nevada secretary of state's office. To date, the law firm and its founder, Dan McNutt, have given $6,500 to Lombardo’s political campaigns.

While it's unclear how much Carbajal & McNutt has received from the LVMPD, according to the contract, the firm receives $190 per hour for work done by partners, $160 per hour for work by associates at the firm, and $90 per hour for work done by paralegals.

Another law firm, Marquis Aurbach, donated more than $12,000 to Lombardo's campaigns. The firm, which handles "open litigation" for LVMPD, had its contract renewed for three more years at Lombardo's request in 2016.

Lombardo's campaign did not comment on the contracts and political donations to Lombardo's campaigns.

Instead, campaign spokesperson Elizabeth Ray responded to a request for comment by accusing Lombardo's opponent, incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, of being "the least ethical governor in Nevada history." Ray cited a Department of Health and Human Services investigation into a COVID-19 testing company that received millions of dollars in contracts funded by Nevada taxpayers but provided faulty test results.Sisolak has not been implicated in any wrongdoing.

Lombardo won the Republican gubernatorial primary in June, defeating a large field of candidates that included Joey Gilbert, a former boxer turned trial attorney who attended the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol; and former Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican who was cold to former President Donald Trump before deciding he was a "great leader" and losing reelection in 2018 to Democrat Jacky Rosen.

Sisolak was first elected governor in 2018, defeating Republican Adam Laxalt by four points in what was then a strong year for Democrats up and down the ballot.

In 2022, however, Democrats are expected to face headwinds: Historical trends show the party in power often experiences a backlash from voters in the first midterm election year after its candidate takes the White House.

There have been few public polls of the race, but Sisolak leads Lombardo by just 1.9 points in the FiveThirtyEight average.

Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the race Tilts Democratic.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Arizona GOP Nominee Endorses Anti-Semitic State Senate Candidate

According to comments posted to social media by Jarrin Jackson, a Republican running for a seat in the Oklahoma state Senate who has gained notoriety for his antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ comments, his campaign has been endorsed by Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake.

In a series of tweets on August 17, Jackson claimed that Lake had said, "We need fighters in EVERY state that's why I'm proud to endorse Jarrin Jackson for Oklahoma state senate! Jarrin is an America First patriot and does so much to advance our America First movement. RINOs & the Soros media attack him relentlessly because he's over the target. Jarrin is a winner and a fighter we need in the state senate!"

Lake herself had not shared any endorsement of Jackson herself as of Friday afternoon. Her campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Lake had endorsed Jackson.

Jackson, whose Twitter profile calls him a "Christian, family man & Army combat vet. Biz owner," has made repeated bigoted comments about Jews and LGBTQ people.

In a post to the social media site Telegram that was highlighted by the media watchdog organization Media Matters for American, Jackson wrote, "The answer to Zionism or any other -ism is the gospel of Jesus Christ. His death, burial, & resurrection for the salvation of sin. I'm not beholden to Jews or any other group. People need to repent & believe the gospel. Hell is gonna be hot."

He wrote in criticizing a so-called documentary on "enemies" within the Baptist Church, "Outline & detail the evil. Amen. The Jews. Illuminati. Covid shots kill. Rothschilds. Communists. Woke pastors. Social gospel. Christ will chuck a bunch of stuff in the fire."

In addition to the antisemitism of references to conspiracy-theorist favorites such as the Jewish Rothschild banking family, Jackson has also repeatedly condemned and insulted the LGBTQ community. The Washington, D.C., Metro Weekly reported in June on comments Jackson made in a video highlighted by Right Wing Watch. Jackson said:

Pride Month is in full swing. I think it would be deliciously ironic and eternally entertaining if God comes back today, gets us up out of here, and then burns the whole place down. It would be amazing, not only because it would be just and righteous and deserving, but because everybody who celebrates this godlessness — which is very few, by the way — most people are doing it because they are coerced. They are compelled.

He added:

People find it disgusting, especially straight dudes. … Whenever they see other dudes kissing. It is gross. Being gay is gay. It is the most disgusting, despicable, stupid thing ever. Insert barf emoji. And yet, we're supposed to celebrate this? We're supposed to think it is normal? It ain't normal! ... These godless commies, these homosexual gay fornicating godless commies, are trying to foist upon everybody else that which is disgusting and dangerous and eternally damnable.

Jackson also repeats a blend of Christian nationalist viewpoints, racist conspiracy theories claiming white people are being targeted, and anti-immigrant sentiment in such rants as one noted by Media Matters in July:

It's not nativism. It's common sense. But the real issue at the core here is that — I can't believe no one else sees this. They want to get rid of white people because of their Christianity. ... What I'm saying is that if you had a culture that focused on the gospel, you wouldn't have mass migration. ... My whole point for this: Zionism, Jews taking over the world, the Rothschilds, the Kalergi Plan, the white replacement theology or white replacement theory. I largely agree that all of those things are happening. But if I believe that their premises are true, that white people are better than other people, that we have to elevate to protect and we have to bend public policy to make sure that America stays white, we are losing what the entire premise of America is, that because God exists, he has an order. ... Yeah, I guess the problem isn't the fact that I'm white and these guys aren't white and I don't want them here. It's the fact that, well, I don't want my culture changing, but I'm not willing to actually sacrifice to fight for my culture. What I want is I want someone who's going to elect to go to office to make sure that the borders are closed so no one comes in. It's like a nation of liars will be well-represented. Why do we have Congress full of corrupt godless commies?

Jackson highlights endorsements on his campaign website from other far-right Arizona Republicans as well: Secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem and state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who is seeking reelection.

Jackson will participate in a primary runoff for the Oklahoma state Senate seat on Aug. 23.

Lake, who won the primary to run as the Republican nominee for governor with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump in early August, has centered her bid around the false conspiracy theory that Trump won the 2020 presidential election. Lake has vowed to imprison those involved in the administration of that election, including her Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

FiveThirtyEight's polling average shows Hobbs with a 3.8-point lead over Lake.

However, Inside Elections, a nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the race a toss-up.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Republicans Want To 'Defund The FBI' For Enforcing Law In Trump Raid

'Tonight the FBI officially became the enemy of the people!!!' Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas tweeted.

House and Senate Republicans are irate over the raid by FBI agents on Monday at former President Donald Trump's Florida estate and have vowed to defund the agency and seek retribution against it should the GOP regain control of Congress in November.

The promise to take funding from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and launch probes into the agency's search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence came in a flood of tweets after Trump himself confirmed that federal law enforcement officers had carried out the raid. Media reports said the FBI was searching for possible boxes of classified materials that Trump might have improperly removed from the White House when he left office.

"The FBI raid on Trump's home tells us one thing," Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) tweeted in response to the news. "Failure is not an option. We must destroy the FBI. We must save America. I stand with Donald J. Trump."

Republican lawmakers accused the FBI of wrongdoing, providing no evidence.

"Tonight the FBI officially became the enemy of the people!!!" Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas tweeted.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas accused President Joe Biden of "using the FBI as his political enforcers"; meanwhile, Jonathan Martin of the New York Times tweeted, "Senior White House officials found out about the FBI's Mar a Lago raid on Twitter, had no notice, per source familiar."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy promised an investigation of the Department of Justice: "I've seen enough. The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization. When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned. Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar."

Experts noted, however, that the Justice Department would have had to clear a high legal bar in order to obtain a warrant to search Trump's residence.

"To obtain the warrant, DOJ had to present a detailed affidavit to a judge walking through the evidence they have that a crime was committed and providing some reason to believe evidence of that crime is at Mar-A-Lago right now," tweeted Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor. "It is reasonable to presume that top DOJ leadership, including Attorney General Merrick Garland, personally approved this warrant, which appears to be the first warrant executed at the home of a former President. That suggests to me that they think the case is going places."

Many of the GOP lawmakers vowing to take steps against the FBI cheered the agency's probe into a private email server used by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, continuing to demand years later, "#LockHerUp."

However, they've been silent about Trump possibly taking highly classified material out of the White House and refusing to turn over documents that he was legally required to leave with the National Archives.

And despite falsely accusing Democratic lawmakers of wanting to "defund the police," some right-wing Republicans are calling for eliminating the FBI.

"DEFUND THE FBI!" Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted after the raid. "I've talked a lot about the civil war in the GOP and I lean into it because America needs fearless & effective Republicans to finally put America First. Last night's tyrannical FBI raid at [Mar-a-Lago] is unifying us in ways I haven't seen," she tweeted on Tuesday morning. "In January, we take on the enemy within."

The FBI has not issued any comments about the raid.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Nearly 200 House Republicans Vote No On Bill Keeping Contraceptives Legal

The majority of the House Republican Conference voted on Thursday against enshrining in law the right to obtain and use contraceptives in the United States, calling such a law an affront to religious liberty.

The bill passed by a vote of 228-195, with two Republicans voting "present." Just eight Republicans joined every Democratic House member in voting for H.R. 8373, titled the Right to Contraception Act.

The bill declares,

In order to further public health and to combat efforts to restrict access to reproductive health care, congressional action is necessary to protect access to contraceptives, contraception, and information related to contraception for everyone, regardless of actual or perceived race, ethnicity, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), income, disability, national origin, immigration status, or geography. ... A person has a statutory right under this Act to obtain contraceptives and to engage in contraception, and a health care provider has a corresponding right to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information related to contraception.

The bill empowers the United States attorney general to "commence a civil action on behalf of the United States" against any state or government official that limits or violates that right.

Democrats said the bill was necessary after the Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark privacy case that affirmed the right to an abortion before fetal viability.

In a concurring opinion in that case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, Justice Clarence Thomas said other landmark privacy cases should also be reconsidered, including Obergefell v. Hodges, which affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry, and Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 case in which the court affirmed that married couples had the right to contraception.

"In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents," Thomas wrote, adding that the court has a "a duty to 'correct the error' established in those precedents."

Rep. Kathy Manning, the North Carolina Democrat who sponsored the legislation, said ahead of the vote, "The Supreme Court's decision stripping away the right to abortion has emboldened extremist attacks on women's freedoms. Today, the House will vote on my #RightToContraception Act that protects birth control for all by enshrining the right to contraception in federal law."

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called the bill "the Payouts for Planned Parenthood Act" and said in a floor speech on July 18, "Unfortunately, today, rather than work with us, Democrats are again spreading fear and misinformation in an attempt to pass a poorly drafted bill, which opens the door further to their extreme abortion-on-demand agenda. ... First, this bill is a trojan horse for more abortions."

Repeating a talking point used often by Republicans, Rodgers mischaracterized certain drugs and devices as abortifacients, claiming of the bill, "It defines the term contraception so broadly it includes drugs used for chemical abortions and would permit the use of certain contraceptives to be used off-label for abortions. It would send more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, freeing up more funds for them to provide abortions and end the lives of the most helpless among us."

State Republican legislators across the country are already talking about banning certain kinds of contraception in the wake of the Dobbs decision, including emergency contraception such as Plan B and intrauterine devices.

Citing another right-wing talking point about contraception, Rodgers said that H.R. 8373 "will continue President Biden's war on religious liberty and conscience protections. Where is the respect for the Little Sisters of the Poor and their victory for their constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom?"

House Democrats earlier passed bills that would codify the right of same-sex couples to marry and of people to obtain abortions in the United States, both rights that have been threatened or eliminated with the reversal of Roe.

On Tuesday, the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act, with 157 Republicans voting no.

On July 15, the House passed two bills that would codify the right to obtain an abortion and the right to travel across state lines to obtain one. The first, the Women's Health Protection Act, bill passed by a vote of 219-210, with just all Republicans and Democrat Henry Cuellar of Texas voting against it. The second, the Ensuring Women's Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, passed by a vote of 223-205, with three Republicans joining all Democrats to vote in favor.

The House bills would need 10 Republicans to join all Democrats in voting for them in order for them to overcome a Republican filibuster and pass in the Senate.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Maryland Republicans Nominate Far-Right Election Denier For Governor

Republicans likely squandered an opportunity to hold on to the Maryland governor's mansion, political analysts said Wednesday, after the GOP nominated a far-right election denier for the state's November gubernatorial election.

With 80 percent of the vote counted, Maryland Del. Dan Cox — a Donald Trump-endorsed state legislator who chartered three busloads of people to attend the rally that preceded the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 — is currently projected to win the Republican nomination for governor by at least a 16-point margin, according to the New York Times.

Cox defeated Kelly Schulz, the state's former commerce secretary, for the chance to try to succeed Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who is term-limited.

Election forecasters and experts believed Schulz — who was Hogan's pick in the race — could have made the race in an otherwise Democrat-heavy state competitive for Republicans in the fall.

However, experts say that Cox — who falsely claims the 2020 election was stolen, called former Vice President Mike Pence a "traitor" for not blocking the certification of President Joe Biden's victory, has ties to the QAnon movement that the FBI deems a domestic terror threat, and opposed coronavirus mitigation efforts — will make the governor's mansion near impossible for Republicans to hold in November.

"Cox was endorsed by Trump and bused people to the January 6 riot," Nathaniel Rakich, a senior elections analyst for the website FiveThirtyEight, tweeted after the Associated Press called the race for Cox. "The GOP might've had a shot with Kelly [Schulz], but now #MDgov should be a slam-dunk Democratic gain."

Jessica Taylor, a political analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report group, also said she believes Cox's win solidifies the general election as a likely Democratic win.

"It didn't have to be this way," Taylor tweeted, adding that the race "could have been competitive" if Schulz had won. Ultimately, Taylor said, "Trump putting retribution over sound political strategy cost" Republicans the race.

Even Republicans are not supportive of their party's candidate. A spokesperson for Hogan — who won election as governor twice, despite the fact that Democrats carry Maryland by wide margins in presidential elections — told reporters on Wednesday that he would not vote for his own party's nominee in November. (Cox unsuccessfully led an attempt to impeach Hogan in February over Hogan's COVID-19 mitigation policies.)

Meanwhile, Doug Mayer, a top aide to Schulz's campaign, described Cox's win as a "ritualized mass suicide" by Maryland Republicans.

"The only thing that was missing was Jim Jones and a cup of Kool-Aid," Mayer told the Times.

This is the latest race where a Trump-backed candidate has won the GOP gubernatorial nomination, despite the fact that the party operatives and officials feared they are the weaker candidate or would not be able to win in a general election against the Democratic nominee.

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who also bused Trump supporters to the January 6 insurrection and was even on the restricted Capitol grounds during the violent riots, won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Pennsylvania. And Darren Bailey, another election denier, won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Illinois.

The Cook Political Report now rates the Maryland governor's race a "solid Democratic" contest.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Pence, GOP Leaders Oppose Trump's Choice For Arizona Governor

A growing chorus of Republican current and former elected officials are coming out in the final days of the Arizona gubernatorial primary to try to stop Kari Lake from winning the Republican nomination, worried that her torrent of lies about the 2020 presidential election will make her unpalatable to the general electorate in November.

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday became the latest GOP official to endorse Lake's top opponent, Karrin Taylor Robson, saying in a statement released by Taylor Robson's campaign: "As Arizona Democrats pursue the reckless Biden-Harris agenda, Karrin Taylor Robson is the only candidate for governor that will keep Arizona's border secure and streets safe, empower parents and create great schools, and promote conservative values. Karrin is the best choice for Arizona's future, and I am proud to support her."

Lake, Taylor Robson, and a number of other Republican candidates are running for the chance to face likely Democratic nominee and current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in the fall. Former GOP Arizona U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon dropped out of the governor's race after it became clear he was not going to win and threw his support behind Robson on June 29.

Pence joins current Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in bucking former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Lake in September 2021, citing her commitment to "election integrity."

Lake has made lies about the 2020 election the central focus of her campaign.

"Donald Trump is endorsing us because he knows we refuse to turn a blind eye to this election of 2020. We are not going to sweep this one under the rug," Lake said in November 2021 after Trump endorsed her. "I would love to see people in handcuffs. And I want a long perp walk that we can watch them all walk. We need to lock these people up."

Lake falsely claims Trump won Arizona's Electoral College votes, even though President Joe Biden carried the state. And she says that she not only would have refused to certify Biden's victory, despite the fact that he won by roughly 11,000 votes in the state, but she would also decertify Biden's victory after the fact.

During a primary debate on June 19, Lake asked her fellow candidates to raise their hands if they agreed with her that "we had a corrupt stolen election." Scott Neely and Paola Tulliani Zen immediately did so; Taylor Robson did not. Robson responded to Lake by saying, "I believe our election was absolutely not fair." She blamed "liberal judges," "liberal media, "Big Tech," and Mark Zuckerberg for creating the conditions for "78 percent of Arizona Republicans thinking something was wrong with the election. But I am focused on 2022 because the left is 10 steps ahead of us and I don't have the time to explain what they're doing."

After the debate, Lake tweeted, "'Would you agree that we had a corrupt, stolen election? Raise your hand' Only one #AZGOV Candidate REFUSED to raise her hand: Karrin Taylor Robson. Disqualifying."

Ducey, who certified Biden's win over the objections of the Trump campaign, said Lake's election lies are a liability.

"Kari Lake is misleading voters with no evidence. She's been tagged by her opponents with a nickname, Fake Lake, which seems to be sticking and actually doing some damage," Ducey said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"It really is so sad to see @GOP Governor @DougDucey join the Propagandists at @CNN to blast Trump AND the Trump-Endorsed Republican candidate," Lake tweeted after Ducey's appearance on CNN. "I just can't figure out why he doesn't support our America First Movement."

A poll of likely Republican voters in Arizona conducted by OH Predictive Insights between June 30 and July 2, 2022 found Lake leading Robson 40%-35%, with 21% remaining undecided ahead of the Aug. 2 primary.

Early voting began in Arizona on July 6.

That day, Trump reiterated his support for Lake, saying in a statement, "With Kari, you'll have Election Integrity, Strong Borders, Safe Streets, and all of the other things you've wanted for so long. Vote for Kari Lake. She has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

On Friday, Trump and Pence will hold competing rallies for their respective picks for governor.

While it's so far unclear how much the endorsement battle will impact the primary vote, Pence's stock among Republicans has fallen considerably, with just 6% of GOP voters responding to a New York Times/Siena College poll conducted July 5-7 that they would vote for Pence if he ran for president in 2024.

Trump meanwhile remains widely popular among Arizona Republicans, with 81% having a favorable opinion of the former president, according to the OH Predictive Insights poll.

Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the Arizona gubernatorial general election a toss-up.

FiveThirtyEight's aggregate of polls currently shows Hobbs with a lead against both Robson and Lake. The lead is larger over Lake.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

June Report: Every Job Lost During Pandemic Is Back

A strong June jobs report released on Friday showed that the private sector has now recovered every job that was lost during the COVID-19 pandemic when millions of people were laid off during former President Donald Trump's tenure.

The news came after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the economy added 372,000 jobs in June, exceeding economists' expectations and keeping the unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, a level most economists regard as "full employment."

The milestone came a little more than two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, which caused the stock market to plummet and employers to slash 22 million jobs.

The private sector has bounced back faster than many had previously thought it would. Some economists had predicted it could take as many as four years for the millions of jobs that were lost to return.

The White House celebrated the jobs number, touting the speed of the recovery from the pandemic slump.

"This has been the fastest and strongest jobs recovery in American history, and it would not have been possible without the decisive action my administration took last year to fix a broken COVID response, and pass the American Rescue Plan to get our economy back on track," President Joe Biden said in a statement.

Biden, who rarely brings up his predecessor by name, said the employment situation is now better than it ever was during Trump's time in office.

"We have more Americans working in the private sector today than any day during Donald Trump's presidency — more people than any time in our history," Biden said.

Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, also celebrated the news that the private sector is now at pre-pandemic levels. "The strength of this labor market is historic," Deese told the Washington Post on Friday.

The report has eased some fears of an impending economic recession. Even Fox Business said the jobs report "doesn't look like an economy in recession."

Good economic news could help Democrats in this year's midterm elections, as economic concerns top voters' list of issues heading into November.

Democrats, for their part, touted the stimulus bills they've passed as one of the reasons for the labor market's recovery, including the American Rescue Plan in 2021.

"This isn't a coincidence," Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) tweeted, referring to the fact that the job market recovered from its pandemic losses. "This is thanks to our recovery efforts like the American Rescue Plan."

Democratic lawmakers also called out their Republican colleagues who voted against their efforts to stimulate the economy with increased government aid.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) chastised Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) after the Georgia Republican criticized Biden for the 3.6 percent unemployment rate, despite saying the same number was "strikingly low" in 2019 when Trump was president.

"You call an identical unemployment rate 'strikingly low' and credited the president for creating a third as many jobs, but then of course, that president was a Republican," Beyer quipped.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Ohio GOP Candidate: 'I Don't Care' If Gun Control Would Prevent Mass Shootings

A Republican House candidate for a competitive seat in northwest Ohio said Monday that mass shootings are an acceptable price to pay for his right to own guns.

"I don't care if countries in Europe have less shootings because they don't have guns. I care about THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and OUR 2nd Amendment Rights," Republican J.R. Majewski tweeted Monday evening. "I think Americans stopped caring what Europe thought of our country in 1776."

Majewski made the comments after a mass shooting at a July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois, a wealthy suburb of Chicago.

The shooting killed at least six people and left dozens wounded. Police have arrested a 22-year-old man from neighboring Highwood in connection with the shooting.

Majewski is running in Ohio's 9th Congressional District, a formerly safe Democratic seat President Joe Biden carried by a nearly 20-point margin in the 2020 presidential election that is newly competitive after redistricting carried out by the Republican-controlled Ohio Redistricting Commission. The polling organization FiveThirtyEight now says the district has a 6-point Republican lean.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the House, touts Majewski as one of its top House nominees in the 2022 midterms. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Majewski.

Proclaiming that mass shootings are an acceptable price to pay for the right to own guns in the United States is only the latest controversy Majewski has created during his run for office.

Majewski bragged about being at the U.S. Capitol during the deadly insurrection by Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021.

He said he spent $20,000 to transport 30 "patriots" to attend the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol in order to block certification of Biden's victory and keep Trump in power.

Majewski is an adherent of the QAnon conspiracy theory that, as the polling organization Ipsos put it in a poll it carried out in December 2020, "A group of Satan-worshipping elites who run a child sex ring are trying to control our politics and media." The FBI calls QAnon a domestic terror threat. Majewski wears clothing adorned with QAnon logos and uses QAnon phrases in social media posts.

Majewski rose to prominence after he painted a Trump 2020 sign on his front lawn.

He also posted a video of himself rapping a verse in a song called "Let's Go Brandon," threatening against people who try to make him wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"Let's go Brandon" has developed into a euphemism that those on the right use for "Fuck Joe Biden."

Majewski faces incumbent Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who has served in Congress since 1983.

The Cook Political Report rates the race a toss-up.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Indicted Colorado County Clerk And Election Denier Crushed In GOP Primary

A right-wing conspiracy theorist who was indicted in March on criminal charges of tampering with voting machines to try to prove former President Donald Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election on Tuesday lost the Republican primary to run for secretary of state of Colorado, the person who oversees its elections.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado, was in third place, trailing the winner, fellow Republican Pam Anderson, 43.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

Peters and her deputy, Belinda Knisley, were indicted on March 8. Peters was indicted on seven felony charges and three misdemeanors, including identity theft, criminal impersonation, attempting to influence a public servant, and official misconduct after she allegedly helped an unauthorized person gain access to a room that housed Mesa County's election equipment in August 2021 and gave an unauthorized person passwords for the equipment.

Images of the voting machine data wound up being published by a Telegram social media account run by believers in the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory that a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles runs the U.S. government. The FBI said the QAnon movement is a domestic terror threat.

Peters had declared herself a candidate for Colorado secretary of state the previous month, challenging incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold, who had been investigating Peters at that point for seven months and released a statement in response to Peters' announcement that said, "Peters compromised voting equipment to try to prove conspiracies, costing Mesa County taxpayers nearly one million dollars. She works with election deniers, spreads lies about elections, was removed from overseeing the 2021 Mesa County election, and is under criminal investigation by a grand jury."

In response to a suit filed by Griswold, Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robison in May barred Peters from overseeing the 2022 midterm elections in the county because of the indictments, writing, "Based on the circumstances of this case … the Court determines that the Petitioners have met the burden of showing that Peters and Knisley have committed a neglect of duty and are unable to perform the duties of the Mesa County Designated Election Official."

Peters did not accept her primary defeat.

She told supporters Tuesday night, as results showed her trailing the Anderson by double digits, "We didn't lose, we just found evidence of more fraud. ... They're cheating and we'll prove it once again. ... It's not over. Keep the faith."

Peters was one of several Republican election deniers running for secretary of state positions in 2022. Not all of them have won.

In Nevada, Republicans nominated Jim Marchant, a Trump supporter who has pushed numerous baseless and antisemitic voter fraud conspiracies.

But Republican Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, one of the 147 congressional Republicans to vote against certifying President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory in January 2021, lost a primary bid for Georgia secretary of state in May. Hice, who was endorsed by Trump, was handily defeated by incumbent Republican Brad Raffensperger, who had rebuffed efforts by Trump to steal Georgia's Electoral College votes.

In Colorado, Peters isn't the only election denier to have lost Tuesday night.

Republican state Rep. Ron Hanks, a Peters supporter who attended the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington that preceded the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, lost his primary run for Senate.

Anderson will face Griswold in November.

Griswold, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination, has vowed to protect voting rights in Colorado.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Arizona GOP Senate Candidate Would 'Privatize' Social Security

Donald Trump's hand-picked candidate Blake Masters is the latest to endorse the unpopular idea.

The front-runner in the GOP primary to run for Senate in Arizona in November against Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly suggested on June 23 that Social Security should be privatized, an approach to the popular government program that experts say could jeopardize a vital financial lifeline for retired Americans.

"We need fresh and innovative thinking," said venture capitalist Blake Masters, a candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump and bankrolled by right-wing investor Peter Thiel, said at a forum hosted by the right-wing advocacy group FreedomWorks. "Maybe we should privatize Social Security, right? Private retirement accounts, get the government out of it."

Masters is the second GOP candidate running for Senate in Arizona to call for privatizing the overwhelmingly popular government program that provides income to retired and disabled adults, after Republican Jim Lamon, whose campaign website posits as a model for the retirement program, "Option for every worker to enjoy the benefit from investment in the US economy while also creating a tangible, inheritable asset for their children, instead of the government-controlled trust fund model."

The Arizona Republicans are among a number of GOP candidates running for Senate who support privatizing the program, including New Hampshire GOP candidate Kevin Smith, who, according to audio recorded at an event hosted by the New Boston Republican Committee, said in response to a question about financial measures, "I think another thing we can look at is, in the future, reforming Social Security — not touching anyone's Social Security in here — we've all paid into the system, and I would not propose that at all. But for my kids who haven't paid into the system yet, and my grandkids who aren't born yet going from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, for them. So, but that's, those are for future generations."

Republicans have been pushing to privatize the program for years, calling for investment of a worker's Social Security payroll taxes in a private, individual account. Experts say it's a risky move that would leave workers' retirement at the whim of the stock market rather than guarantee income for retirees.

"In a privatized system, workers' retirement income would depend upon many factors: the performance of the stock market, luck, investment savvy, the timing of retirement (i.e., whether the stock market was up or down), and other factors outside a worker's control. Social Security's income guarantee would be lost, and it would no longer serve as a source of ensured income for the elderly, especially lower-income workers, women, and minorities," according to a 2020 report published by the nonprofit think tank Economic Policy Institute.

The loss of that guaranteed income could be financially devastating, given that one in four older adults receive 90% of their income from Social Security benefits, according to the research and policy organization Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Social Security is especially important in Arizona, which has a large portion of retirees. It is the second-most popular state for retirees over age 60, behind only Florida, according to AARP, a lobby for older Americans. According to Census Bureau statistics, 18.5 percent of Arizona's population is over the age of 65.

Former President George W. Bush abandoned an effort to partially privatize the program in 2005; among those opposing the plan was AARP.

The outcome of the Arizona Senate race will be critical to which party controls the Senate, currently split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans need to net just one seat to take control of the majority.

Inside Elections, a nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the race a toss-up.

Incumbent Sen. Kelly has said he won't support privatizing the program.

"I've got a message for Arizonans: I will protect Social Security and Medicare. Period," Kelly said in a campaign ad that ran during the 2020 special election he won to fill the seat of the late Republican Sen. John McCain.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.