Donors on Both Sides of Abortion Debate Expected to Put Money Behind Their Words

FILE – Abortion rights activists gather for a protest following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, at Washington Square Park, Friday, June 24, 2022, in New York. The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has ushered in a new era of funding on both sides of the abortion debate. With the legality of abortion now up to individual states to determine, an issue that was long debated by legislators and philanthropists when it was merely theoretical is suddenly a real-world circumstance for people across the country. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has ushered in a new era of funding on both sides of the abortion debate.

 

With the legality of abortion now up to individual states to determine, an issue long debated by legislators and philanthropists — when it was largely theoretical because only the Supreme Court could change it — suddenly has real-world ramifications for people across the country. And donors on both sides will now be expected to put money behind their words.

“I think we will see funding that’s going to be a lot less performative and a lot more realistic,” said Leslie Lenkowsky, a professor emeritus in public affairs and philanthropic studies at Indiana University.

Those kind of gifts are already starting to arrive.

Donations are pouring in to nonprofit groups in what experts call an example of “rage giving.” Yet few believe the additional funding for their causes will be enough to address the increased demand for help either for women to obtain abortions or to support babies put up for adoption or into the foster care system.

At The Brigid Alliance, a New York nonprofit that provides funding and logistical help for people seeking abortions, the number of donors more than doubled to 6,000-plus after the leak in May of a draft of the Supreme Court ruling, according to Sarah Moeller, the group’s director of resource development. Once Roe was overturned last month, their number of donors doubled again within three days, with people contributing anywhere from $5 to $50,000. Even so, Moeller said, the donations can’t begin to match the need.

“Since September, when Texas implemented their six-week ban, we saw a 900% increase in requests for our services,” she said. “We expect that we’ll continue to see surging rates as the dominoes fall after this ruling.”

The Brigid Alliance helps about 125 people a month with abortion logistics and expenses — about $1,200 per person. Most requests come from women in the South, Moeller said, and inflation has increased many of the costs.

“I think it’s going to be impossible for every individual who needs abortion care to be able to get to their appointments,” Moeller said. “We’re doing everything that we can to grow in order to meet increasing demand. And every single person who is able to help makes a huge difference. But the volume is just incalculable at this point.”

At Americans United for Life, which provides anti-abortion policy expertise to legislators around the country, donations are coming in heavy numbers from Americans of all ages and backgrounds, said Tom Shakely, the group’s chief engagement officer. Even so, he said, the group remains “a multimillion-dollar David to abortion’s multibillion-dollar Goliath.”

“The end of Roe v. Wade unfortunately does not mean the end of Planned Parenthood or the end of abortion,” Shakely said. “Abortion will tragically continue to be a multibillion-dollar business in America until we clarify that abortion is incompatible with constitutional justice.”

Brandi Collins-Calhoun, a manager at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, said she hopes donors will regard the next stage in the abortion debate as a reason to redouble contributions to what she sees as reproductive justice.

“There are a lot of gaps and voids that both the states and philanthropy created, because of their practices — the ways that they frame abortion as a rights issue, not a health issue,” she said. “I think anybody who has the capital and the access should be paying for people’s abortions. Whether that’s the state, whether it’s philanthropy — I think everybody has a responsibility.”

Aaron Dorfman, the committee’s president and CEO, suggested that philanthropy’s responsibility, in part, is to fund programs that the government can’t or won’t.

“It’s a perfectly appropriate role for donors to step up in this way — to both meet an urgent need and also lay a framework for a better government that more fully meets the needs of its citizenry,” he said. “Part of how philanthropy can do that is by investing in power-building work at state and local levels to support community organizing, and advocacy work that really helps change how government functions and who it is responsive to.”

Dorfman noted that conservative funders have long supported their work in that way, while liberal funders have tended to be more reticent.

The result, Collins-Calhoun said, is that many abortion rights groups have been overwhelmed.

“We’re a few days out from the decision, and state and local leaders are exhausted,” she said. “They haven’t been sustained. Many of them are trying to figure out what to do next because they weren’t funded for this moment.”

Leaders on both sides of the issue say they recognize that they’ll have to quickly find their way through this new reality.

“We’re really at one of these moments in our country that could be very, very important,” Lenkowsky said. “Are we going to rise to the challenge here? Or are we going to keep going on business as usual?”

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In light of EPA Court Ruling, New Focus on States’ Power

FILE – Taillights trace the path of a motor vehicle at the Naughton Power Plant, Jan. 13, 2022, in Kemmerer, Wyo. The Supreme Court decision June 30, restricting the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency may mean continued pollution from power plants in states that are not switching to cleaner energy. But many states are switching and experts say they’ll remain free to keep cleaning up their electrical grids under the new decision. (AP Photo/Natalie Behring, File)

The U.S. Supreme Court limited the power of the federal government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. But its ruling didn’t touch the power of the states.

 

That’s putting a renewed focus on efforts across the country to limit the reliance on power plants that spew planet-warming emissions into the air. While Democratic states have taken the lead on the most aggressive climate policy in recent years, some Republican-led states are also helping shift the U.S. power grid toward cleaner sources of energy.

“This ruling makes clear that the actions of governors and state legislatures are more important than ever before. Thankfully, state authority to curb greenhouse gas emissions has not changed,” Democratic Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington, Kathy Hochul of New York and Gavin Newsom of California said in a statement after the ruling. The three are co-chairs of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of 24 states committed to climate action.

States can cut emissions from power plants in a handful of direct and indirect ways. Chief among them are carbon markets that aim to lower emissions from large, polluting facilities over time and rules that require utilities to buy certain amounts of energy from renewable or non-carbon sources.

California, New York and Washington are all known for setting some of the nation’s most ambitious climate goals. All three have committed to getting 100% of their electric power from non-carbon sources by 2040 or 2045. But they’re not alone. Eighteen states have set 100% clean energy goals, according to the U.S. Climate Alliance.

Most of the states in the alliance are led by Democrats, but a few including Vermont, Massachusetts and Maryland have Republican governors. Together the states account for 42% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

So-called renewable portfolio standards don’t directly regulate emissions. But they have a similar effect by encouraging utilities not to purchase power from carbon-emitting sources like coal-fired plants. They also encourage a ramp-up of solar, wind and other types of renewable power so that utilities will have enough places to buy energy as the rules tighten.

More than a dozen U.S. states also participate in some type of carbon market that more directly regulates emissions from power plants. Such markets set caps on the amount of allowable emissions, and polluters must buy allowances equal to what they want to emit.

The allowable emissions cap goes down over time, causing prices for the emissions allowances to go up. The goal is to encourage power plants and other polluters to reduce their emissions over time in a way that´s economically optimal for them and their customers.

California runs a cap-and-trade program that’s a key part of the state’s path to lowering emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, though some critics question whether it can achieve that goal. On the East Coast, 11 states have partnered to created the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a similar market-based program designed to lower emissions.

“If the EPA doesn’t have this authority, then that certainly doesn’t preempt states from going ahead,” said Cary Coglianese, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania focused on regulation.

But, he noted, the problem is that climate change is a global problem and mixed state efforts aren’t going to be enough to make real progress.

Indeed, the states that produce the most coal and natural gas are mostly led by Republicans, and they have a mixed record on advancing policies that support clean energy.

West Virginia, a heavy coal-producing state, brought the challenge against the EPA. In 2020, the state got 88% of its electricity from coal, with renewables like hydropower and wind accounting for just 6%. The Legislature in 2015 repealed a state law that required a certain amount of power to come from renewable or alternative sources.

Wyoming, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois and North Dakota produced the most coal among states in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia are the top producers of natural gas.

Texas, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma are among states that have set modest renewable goals for electric utilities, but they haven’t been updated in recent years to set stricter goals for the future. Still, Texas produces the most wind energy in the nation by far and Oklahoma comes in third, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s largely driven by market forces and unlikely to change in light of the EPA’s ruling.

Dan Farber, faculty director of the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at the University of California, Berkeley, said market forces that are making coal a less economically viable energy source and lowering the cost of wind and solar will likely continue to shape states’ energy choices regardless of political ideology.

“If you talk about climate change there are a lot of places where that conversation is going to go nowhere,” he said. “But if you talk about renewable energy and modernizing the energy system, there are a lot of red states where that has some traction.”

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Continue reading “In light of EPA Court Ruling, New Focus on States’ Power”

Time to Return Issue of Abortion to the People’s Elected Representatives

FILE – More than 100 opponents of the Republican redistricting plans vow to fight the maps at a rally ahead of a joint legislative committee hearing at the Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison, Wis., on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. In overturning a half-century of nationwide legal protection for abortion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Roe v. Wade had been wrongly decided and that it was time to “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives” in the states. But some question whether gerrymandering has diminished the ability of state legislatures to truly represent the people’s will. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

In overturning a half-century of nationwide legal protection for abortion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Roe v. Wade had been wrongly decided and that it was time to “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives” in the states.

 

Whether those elected officials are truly representative of the people is a matter of debate, thanks to another high court decision that has enabled control of state legislatures to be skewed to the right or left.

In June 2019, three years before its momentous abortion ruling, the Supreme Court decided that it has no role in restraining partisan gerrymandering, in which Republicans or Democrats manipulate the boundaries of voting districts to give their candidates an edge.

The result is that many legislatures are more heavily partisan than the state’s population as a whole. Gerrymandering again flourished as politicians used the 2020 census data to redraw districts that could benefit their party both for this year’s elections and the next decade.

In some swing states with Republican-led legislatures, such as Michigan and Wisconsin, “arguably gerrymandering really is the primary reason that abortion is likely to be illegal,” said Chris Warshaw, a political scientist at George Washington University who analyzes redistricting data.

Meanwhile, “in states where Democrats have gerrymandered, it’s going to help probably make abortion laws more liberal than people would like,” he added.

A majority of Americans support abortion access in general, though many say there should be some restrictions, according to public opinion polls.

States have sometimes been viewed as laboratories for democracy — institutions most closely connected to the people where public policies are tested, take root and potentially spread.

Writing for the Supreme Court’s majority in its June 24 abortion decision, Justice Samuel Alito noted that 30 states had prohibited abortion when the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling “short-circuited the democratic process,” usurped lawmakers and imposed abortion rights nationwide.

“Our decision returns the issue of abortion to those legislative bodies, and it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting, and running for office,” Alito wrote.

Abortion already is an issue in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial and legislative elections. A recent Wisconsin poll showed a majority supported legal abortion in most or all cases. But a fight is brewing over an 1849 state law — which had been unenforceable until Roe v. Wade was overruled — that bans abortion except to save the life of the woman.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is backing a court challenge to overturn the law, enacted just a year after Wisconsin gained statehood. He also called a special legislative session in June to repeal it. But the Republican-led Assembly and Senate adjourned in a matter of seconds without taking action.

Wisconsin’s legislative chambers had one of the nation’s strongest Republican advantages during the past decade and are projected to continue to do so under new districts in place for the 2022 elections, according to an analysis by PlanScore, a nonprofit that uses election data to rate the partisan tilt of legislative districts.

“Democracy is distorted in Wisconsin because of these maps,” Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer said.

In 2018, Democrats won every major statewide office, including governor and attorney general, races where gerrymandering isn’t in play. But they have not been able to overcome heavily gerrymandered state legislative districts since Republicans won control of the statehouse during the midterm elections in 2010.

“If we had a truly democratic system in Wisconsin, we would be in a different situation,” she said. “We would be overturning this criminal abortion ban right now”

Republican state Rep. Donna Rozar, a former cardiac nurse who backs abortion restrictions, said gerrymandering shouldn’t stop political parties from running good candidates to represent their districts. She expects a robust abortion debate during the campaign to carry into the 2023 legislative session.

“This is an issue that is so critical to come back to the states, because each state then can elect people that will represent their values.” Rozar said.

The 2010 midterms, two years after former President Barack Obama was elected, were a pivot point for control of statehouses across the country. Coming into that election, Democrats fully controlled 27 state legislatures and Republicans 14, with the rest split. But sweeping GOP victories put the party in charge of redistricting in many states. By 2015, after two elections under the new maps, Republicans fully controlled 30 legislatures and Democrats just 11.

That Republican legislative advantage largely persisted through the 2020 elections, including in states that otherwise are narrowly divided between Democrats and Republicans, such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In New Mexico, it’s Republicans who contend the Democratic-led Legislature has pushed beyond the will of many voters on abortion policies. The New Mexico House and Senate districts had a sizable pro-Democratic edge during the past decade that got even more pronounced after districts were redrawn based on the 2020 census, according to the PlanScore data.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation last year repealing a dormant 1969 law that banned most abortions. After Roe v. Wade was overruled, she signed an executive order making New Mexico a safe harbor for people seeking abortions. Unlike most states, New Mexico has no restrictions on late-term abortions.

“I don’t think that the majority of New Mexicans support New Mexico’s abortion policy at this time,” Republican state Sen. Gay Kernan said. “New Mexico is the late-term abortion capital of the United States, basically.”

The Republican nominee for governor, Mark Ronchetti, has proposed to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for rape, incest and when a woman’s life is at risk. But the legislative proposal has been described as dead on arrival by Democratic state Senate Whip Linda Lopez.

Michigan could provide one of the biggest tests of representative government in the nation’s new abortion battle.

Republicans drew Michigan legislative districts after the 2010 census and created such a sizable advantage for their party that it may have helped the GOP maintain control of the closely divided House, according to an Associated Press analysis. As in Wisconsin, Democrats in Michigan won the governor’s race and every other major statewide office in 2018 but could not overcome legislative districts tilted toward Republicans.

The dynamics have changed for this year’s elections. The GOP’s edge was cut in half under new legislative districts drawn by a voter-approved citizens’ redistricting commission, according to the PlanScore data. That could improve Democrats’ chances of winning a chamber and influencing abortion policy.

Michigan’s Republican gubernatorial challengers generally support a 1931 state law — temporarily placed on hold by a judge — that bans abortions unless a woman’s health is at risk. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is running for reelection, wants to repeal that law.

Republican state Rep. Steve Carra said lawmakers are looking to replace it with “something that would be enforceable in the 21st century.”

“It’s more important to protect life than it is a woman’s right to choose to take that life,” said Carra, who leads a coalition of 321 lawmakers from 35 states that had urged the Supreme Court to return abortion policy to the states.

Unsure about their legislative prospects, abortion rights advocates are gathering signatures for a November ballot initiative that would create a state constitutional right to abortion, allowing its regulation only “after fetal viability.”

“It’s the best shot that we have at securing abortion access,” Democratic state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky said. “I think if this is put in voters’ hands, they will want to see this ballot measure succeed.”

Source: Associated Press, DAVID A. LIEB

Continue reading “Time to Return Issue of Abortion to the People’s Elected Representatives”

Folks of Rural West Worry About Access to Abortion Clinics

FILE – This Jan. 28, 2020, photo shows the Tower theatre located in downtown Bend, Ore. The Planned Parenthood clinic in Bend serving the eastern half of the state, is bracing for an influx of patients particularly from neighboring Idaho, where a trigger law banning most abortions is expected to take effect this summer following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

In the central Oregon city of Bend, the sole Planned Parenthood clinic serving the eastern half of the state is bracing for an influx of patients, particularly from neighboring Idaho, where a trigger law banning most abortions is expected to take effect this summer.

 

“We’ve already started hiring,” said Joanna Dennis-Cook, the Bend Health Center Manager.

Across the U.S. West, many abortion providers serving rural areas were already struggling to meet demand in a vast region where staffing shortages and long travel distances are barriers to reproductive services for women. Oregon alone is larger geographically than the entire United Kingdom.

Some facilities serving rural communities in states where abortion remains legal worry those pre-existing challenges could be further compounded by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as more patients travel from states where the procedure is banned or greatly restricted.

Anticipating an abortion ban in Idaho, Oregon lawmakers earlier this year created a $15 million fund to increase access to abortion services.

Northwest Abortion Access Fund, a nonprofit that helps patients pay for travel and the procedure itself, has been tapped to receive the first $1 million. NWAAF has worked with the Bend clinic for 20 years, and they are collaborating to meet the needs of a growing number of patients.

Dennis-Cook says her clinic is providing additional training for staff and modifying schedules “to ensure that we can accommodate increases in patient numbers” as more people travel farther for care.

Before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 20% of U.S. women already had to travel at least 42 miles to reach the nearest abortion clinic, according to 2014 data analyzed by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, which published its findings in The Lancet Public Health. Across much of eastern Oregon, that distance can jump to nearly 180 miles. As more states move to enact trigger bans on abortion, distances could increase further for many patients.

Dennis-Cook says the Bend health center has been seeing patients coming from as far away as Texas.

Bend’s clinic has six exam rooms and receives about 600 visits per month. As it is “on the smaller side,” Dennis-Cook said it is “limited” in what it can provide.

“We only do first trimester procedures here,” she explained. She added the clinic can’t do procedures involving general anesthesia. “We don’t have a plethora of nurses who can do that type of work to draw from.”

Smaller abortion clinics, particularly ones in rural areas, have historically grappled with shortages of staff and doctors who can perform the procedure. This in turn affects scheduling availability.

Amidst growing demand for travel funds, NWAAF has already exhausted its planned operating budgets for this year, according to Riley Keane, a Practical Support Lead for the group.

“Last year we gave away about $1 million all told,” Keane explained, referring to grants given to clinics to cover abortion costs and travel funds provided to patients. She said this year NWAAF is “on track to double that potentially.”

Keane expects the $1 million from Oregon’s new abortion access fund will make “a huge difference” for NWAAF, which normally relies on individual donors. She says this year marks the first time the group is receiving government money.

NWAAF says it is concerned about providing travel funds to patients in states where abortion is banned or greatly restricted, but added it is working with legal professionals to assess the shifting landscape.

“They keep us up to date on things we need to be concerned about,” Keane said.

In response to laws such as those passed in Texas allowing private individuals to sue abortion providers, the governors of Oregon, Washington and California announced a joint commitment to protect patients and doctors “against judicial and local law enforcement cooperation with out-of-state investigations, inquiries and arrests.”

The three Democratic governors also said they will refuse “extradition of individuals for criminal prosecution” for receiving or supporting abortion services that are legal in their states.

NWAAF’s service region includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

Keane says NWAAF will continue its work for now. “Currently, our legal advisers haven’t told us that we need to stop operating,” she said.

Continue reading “Folks of Rural West Worry About Access to Abortion Clinics”

End of July Weekend Eases Flight Cancellations

Travelers check their flights at Miami International Airport, Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Miami. The Fourth of July holiday weekend is jamming U.S. airports with the biggest crowds since the pandemic began in 2020. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Travelers flying home from July Fourth getaways faced flight delays Monday, but airlines were canceling fewer flights than in the days leading up to the holiday weekend.

 

Since holiday weekend travel picked up on Thursday, airlines have canceled more than 2,200 U.S. flights, and another 25,000 were delayed.

Airports were packed.

More than 9 million flyers flocked to U.S. airports between Thursday and Sunday, peaking at 2.49 million, a pandemic-era record, on Friday, according to figures from the Transportation Security Administration.

By late Monday afternoon on the East Coast, more than 2,200 U.S. flights had been delayed and more than 200 canceled, according to FlightAware.

The good news: Those numbers were down sharply from recent days.

Flying during the peak vacation season has always been challenging. Big crowds and summer thunderstorms can quickly overwhelm an airline’s operations. That has been compounded this summer by shortages of pilots and other workers.

Continue reading “End of July Weekend Eases Flight Cancellations”

Sacramento Nightclub Shooting Leaves 1 Dead and 4 Wounded

Sacramento Police officers gather near the scene of shooting outside a night club in the early morning hours on Monday July 4, 2022 in downtown Sacramento, Calif. (AP PhotoRich Pedroncelli)

One man was killed and four were wounded in a shooting early Monday outside a nightclub in downtown Sacramento, police said.

 

Police Chief Kathy Lester told the Sacramento Bee that authorities received a call about shots fired shortly before 2 a.m. on Monday after a club let out patrons.

The wounded men were taken to hospitals and reported to be in stable condition, police said. The man who died was identified by the coroner’s office as Gregory Grimes, 31, police said.

Authorities released very little information about the shooting and asked witnesses to come forward with any additional information and to submit possible video evidence. No suspects were immediately identified by police.

“What we know now is very limited,” Lester said.

Grimes was a former football star from Inderkum High School and Boise State University. He had returned to coach at the high school after college and last year started a staffing company, the Bee reported.

His mother, Deborah Grimes, told the newspaper that her son was killed leaving the Mix nightclub and she doesn’t believe he was targeted.

“He’s never been in the streets or anything, he doesn’t have that kind of background,” she said, adding he was looking forward to celebrating the July 4 holiday with his 4-year-old son. “You just would never think that someone like him would be murdered. He just doesn’t fit a profile of a troublemaker or anything like that.”

She added: “I can’t explain how devastating this is right now.”

It was Sacramento’s second shooting in the city’s downtown area this year. Six people were killed and 12 wounded in an April shooting between rival gangs.

In that shooting, 100 shots were fired as people left bars and nightclubs in the downtown area, which is just blocks from the Capitol.

Three men have been arrested and charged with three counts of murder in the deaths of three bystanders, the Bee recently reported. No charges have been filed in the deaths of the three other victims, who police say were involved in the dispute.

Sacramento, which is home to half a million people, has been striving to revitalize its downtown but the area has been rattled by rising crime.

Continue reading “Sacramento Nightclub Shooting Leaves 1 Dead and 4 Wounded”

Voters Have Rendered Verdicts Halfway Through 2022 Primary Election Season

Mehmet Oz, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, speaks at a primary night election gathering in Newtown, Pa., May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

More than halfway through a tumultuous primary season, voters have rendered verdicts in a number of contests, many of which featured candidates arguing they best represented a continuation of policies favored by former President Donald Trump.

 

While not on the ballot himself, Trump has played a role in several races, with candidates bearing his endorsement meeting a variety of electoral outcomes. There have also been tumbles by several incumbents, some taken out by Trump-backed challengers and others bested by fellow representatives in faceoffs forced by redistricting.

Here’s what’s happened so far in primary races across the country:

FALLEN INCUMBENTS

Eight incumbents — three Democrats and five Republicans — lost their U.S. House seats already this year after being defeated in their primary elections.

Four of those losses came in incumbent-on-incumbent races, a result of the once-a-decade redistricting process. But the other four were defeated by insurgent challengers after finding themselves vulnerable as a result of scandal, investigation, irritating progressives or crossing Trump.

Seven-term centrist Democratic U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon fell to progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner in his May 17 primary. Schrader had angered many Democrats by opposing some of President Joe Biden’s priorities, including a $1.9 trillion coronavirus pandemic relief bill because he didn’t support a minimum wage increase.

Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina was defeated by state Sen. Chuck Edwards after a whirlwind of scandals that included Cawthorn saying he’d been invited to orgies and had seen opponents of drug addiction use cocaine, getting caught twice with guns at airports and appearing in videos showing him in sexually suggestive poses.

On June 14, five-term GOP Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina lost his reelection bid to state Rep. Russell Fry after voting to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. And on June 28, six-term Mississippi Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo lost a runoff to Sheriff Mike Ezell after being accused in a congressional ethics report of misspending campaign funds.

MEMBER-ON-MEMBER FACEOFFS

Redistricting guaranteed that some U.S. House incumbents would be ousted.

The first to fall was Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia, who voted with Democrats in support of Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, betting that West Virginians would reward him for prioritizing such funding in one of the nation’s poorest states. Instead, they dumped him for Rep. Alex Mooney, who opposed the infrastructure bill. Mooney won Trump’s endorsement the day Biden signed the measure into law.

In Georgia, Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath, a gun safety advocate, went district shopping after a GOP-dominated Legislature turned her home area into a Republican stronghold. She defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, who said she’d considered McBath like a “sister.”

Two Illinois incumbents lost their seats this past week when Republican Rep. Mary Miller defeated five-term Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, and Democratic Rep. Sean Casten beat one-term Democratic Rep. Marie Newman.

Miller won days after she called the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade a “historic victory for white life” during a rally with Trump. Calling it “a mix-up of words,” Miller’s spokesman told The Associated Press that she had intended to say the decision was a victory for a “right to life.”

TRUMP’S TARGETS

Still stinging from his 2020 presidential election loss to Biden, Trump vowed revenge on Republicans who defied him.

He zeroed in on Georgia, recruiting challengers to Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who had rebuffed his efforts to overturn his narrow defeat in the state. But he fell short, with Kemp easily turning back former Sen. David Perdue, and Raffensperger defeating Rep. Jody Hice.

Trump also directed his rage toward the 10 House Republicans who voted with Democrats to impeach him for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Four decided against seeking reelection.

But of those who stayed to fight, Rice became first to lose, a result he acknowledged was possible over a vote he said his conscience forced him to take. Another, Rep. David Valadao of California, finished second in his primary, meaning he advanced to the November general election as one of the top two finishers.

Four of the House Republicans still await their primaries.

In South Carolina, Trump targeted another GOP incumbent, Rep. Nancy Mace, following her criticism of his role in the Jan. 6 attack and her vote to certify Biden’s win. Mace withstood her challenge from Katie Arrington, a Trump-backed opponent.

TRUMP: KEEPING SCORE

Trump helped lift some U.S. Senate candidates to victory. In Ohio, he backed “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance after a furious push by Vance’s opponents to win Trump’s favor. The endorsement just three weeks before the election propelled Vance to a win.

Dr. Mehmet Oz got Trump’s seal of approval about five weeks before Pennsylvania’s primary, a blow to former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, whose wife, Dina Powell, served in Trump’s administration. Oz eked out a slim victory over McCormick after a recount.

In North Carolina, Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd a year before his primary, elevating the little-known congressman from a 14-candidate field to win the GOP Senate nomination.

Trump also waded into statewide races, backing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton against primary challenger George P. Bush. Trump was rewarding Paxton for petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 2020 election — an effort the state bar termed “dishonest” as it sought to punish him for it.

Katie Britt nearly won a GOP primary outright to replace her boss, retiring Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, but ended up in a runoff with longtime Rep. Mo Brooks, whom Trump initially supported before pulling his endorsement as Brooks’ polling languished. Trump endorsed Britt only after she finished first in the primary.

Republican voters in Nebraska rejected Trump’s gubernatorial pick, businessman Charles Herbster, who was accused late in the campaign of having groped multiple women, going instead with University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen as their nominee. In a U.S. House race in Georgia, GOP voters picked trucking company owner Mike Collins over Vernon Jones, a Trump-backed Democrat-turned-Republican.

ELECTION DENIERS

Voters handed primary wins to some candidates who supported Trump’s assertions that Biden’s election victory was illegitimate. Those false claims have been roundly rejected by elections officials, Trump’s own attorney general and the courts, including by judges he appointed.

Nonetheless, state Sen. Doug Mastriano won Pennsylvania’s crowded Republican gubernatorial primary. He has been subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol for his role in a plan to arrange for an “alternate” slate of electors from Pennsylvania for Trump after the 2020 election.

Trump’s pick for Nevada secretary of state, former state lawmaker Jim Marchant, won his primary after spending months arguing that there hadn’t been a legitimate Nevada election for years and that Trump’s victory had been stolen.

In Idaho, Trump’s insurgent candidate Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin lost her bid to oust Gov. Brad Little. McGeachin had said she would “bring integrity to Idaho’s elections,” without citing any inconsistencies. She also said she’d push for a 50-state forensic audit of the 2020 election.

In Colorado, GOP voters chose Pam Anderson as their nominee for secretary of state over Tina Peters, an indicted county clerk who gained national prominence by promoting conspiracy theories about voting machines. Anderson had pledged to keep politics out of running elections, while Peters was indicted on seven felony counts accusing her of taking part in a “deceptive scheme” to breach voting system technology.

LOOK AHEAD

Primary season resumes in earnest in August, with a number of high-profile races still to be decided.

Rep. Liz Cheney faces a stiff primary challenge in Wyoming on Aug. 16 after voting to impeach Trump and becoming vice chair of the House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. Trump has endorsed Harriet Hageman in the race.

In Arizona, one of five battleground states Biden flipped, the former president endorsed a slate of loyalists who promote his false election claims. In the governor’s race, he backed former TV news anchor Kari Lake over developer Karrin Taylor Robson for the GOP nomination to replace Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who resisted Trump’s election year pressure and is barred from another term.

In Arizona’s U.S. Senate race, Trump supports investor Blake Masters for the GOP nomination to face Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly in November. Masters has said “I think Trump won in 2020” and espoused the baseless “great replacement” conspiracy theory, a racist ideology that says white people and their influence are being replaced by people of color.

And in Arizona’s secretary of state race, Trump backed state Rep. Mark Finchem, who was photographed outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and worked to overturn Trump’s 2020 loss.

In Michigan, one of the country’s top battleground states, Republicans have faced setbacks in their bid to defeat Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November. Five GOP candidates failed to qualify for the Aug. 2 primary after submitting fake signatures collected by paid petition circulators. Another candidate, Republican Ryan Kelley, was charged last month with misdemeanors related to the Jan. 6 attack.

Establishment Republicans are worried about the Aug. 2 GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Missouri, where former Gov. Eric Greitens is trying to make a political comeback, following his resignation four years ago amid investigations into possible campaign finance issues and into whether he blackmailed a woman against speaking about their extramarital affair. Some Republicans fear Greitens would be a weak general election candidate who could cede a safe seat to Democrats.

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Continue reading “Voters Have Rendered Verdicts Halfway Through 2022 Primary Election Season”

High Profile Shootings in the Nation in Recent Weeks

Attorney General Merrick Garland. visits the Tops Friendly Market grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, the site of a May 14 mass shooting in which 10 Black people were killed. Garland was in Buffalo to announce federal hate crime charges against the 18-year-old shooter, Payton Gendron. (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)

The latest high-profile shooting in the United States happened on July Fourth, when a gunman opened fire on parade-goers in a Chicago suburb. Other notable episodes of gun violence in recent weeks:

Continue reading “High Profile Shootings in the Nation in Recent Weeks”