State House

Justice Won’t Support GOP Senate Nominee

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R), who switched parties to become a Republican in early August, told a crowd of Republican lawmakers this week that he supports Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) re-election to the U.S. Senate, according to West Virginia Metro News.

Said Justice: “Joe Manchin has been a friend of mine. Now he may be a terrible person to y’all but Joe has been a friend of mine and I’m going to tell you this as straight up as I can be: Joe Manchin is becoming a very key, integral part with Donald Trump. And I’m going to take my read off of Donald Trump.”

How Party Bosses Pick the Politicians In New York

New York Times: “For decades, New York seats have traded hands this way in what amounts to one of the last, most powerful vestiges of Tammany Hall-style politics in the state. Election laws here grant politicians and local political power brokers vast sway in picking candidates when legislators leave office in the middle of their term — whether they retire early, pass away, depart for another job or are carted away in handcuffs.”

“The rules are a crucial part of what empowers party bosses in a state that regularly outpaces the nation in corruption. They encourage ambitious politicians, even the most independent ones, to pledge fealty to county political leaders, lest they get passed over if and when the time comes for possible advancement.”

New York Official Pushes To Rename Trump Park

“A New York lawmaker is proposing a bill to rename a state park named after President Donald Trump in honor of the woman run down by a white supremacist in Charlottesville last month,” BuzzFeed reports.

“Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has fiercely criticized Trump, has remained silent on the question of honoring the president with signs for the park on highways north of New York City. The park itself has been closed since 2010, and was recently described as an ‘ugly and dilapidated… disaster.'”

Christie Stuck at Historic Low Approval

A new Rutgers-Eagleton poll finds New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) approval rate at just 16%.

“The governor has long lost the support of the state’s Democrats and unaffiliated voters, which make up a majority of New Jersey’s voting bloc. But making matters worse for the Republican governor, 50 percent of the state’s GOP residents have an unfavorable view of him.”

GOP Lawmaker Suggests Obama Staged Charlottesville

Idaho state Rep. Bryan Zollinger (R) said that he’s doubling down on the claim that it is “completely plausible” that Democratic officials staged the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, to smear President Trump, the Spokesman-Review reports.

And he said donors are pledging to give him money in response to widespread criticism of the post.

Said Zollinger: “At first, I felt genuinely bad that maybe I had offended somebody. Since then, the amazing amount of hate and the despicable things that have been said about myself, my wife, my kids, I’ve doubled down.”

He added: “Obama was a community organizer before he was the president of the United States… I still do think it’s plausible.”

Virginia Voters Divided on Who to Blame for Violence

A new MassINC poll in Virginia finds just 40% of Virginia voters agree that the white nationalist rally-goers were mostly to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, nearly identical to the 41% who pointed to both sides. Another 6% mostly blame the counter-protesters, bringing the total who assign at least equal blame to the counter-protesters up to 47%.

Statue for Author of Dred Scott Decision Removed

“A statue of the of the U.S. Supreme Court justice who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery and denied citizenship to African Americans was removed from the grounds of the Maryland State House early Friday morning,” the AP reports.

“The statue of Roger B. Taney was lifted away by a crane at about 2 a.m. It was lowered into a truck and driven away to storage. The bronze statue was erected in 1872, just outside the original front door of the State House.”

Missouri Lawmaker Calls for Trump Assassination

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “With five written words Thursday morning, one of Missouri’s most controversial state lawmakers spawned a U.S. Secret Service investigation, potentially endangered her own political career — and flung St. Louis squarely into the middle of America’s raging racial-political debate in the wake of the unrest in Charlottesville, Va.”

Said state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D): “I hope Trump is assassinated!”

“She quickly deleted her post, but not quickly enough. By midafternoon, the political verdicts of her own party were rolling in.”

Protest In Virginia Turns Violent

“A planned protest in Virginia by white nationalists was abandoned on Saturday after a spate of violence prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency and law enforcement officers to clear the area,” the New York Times reports.

“The demonstration, which both organizers and critics had said was the largest gathering of white nationalists in recent years, turned violent almost immediately and left several people injured… By 11 a.m., the scene had exploded into taunting, shoving and outright brawling. Barricades encircling the park and separating the two sides began to come down, and police temporarily retreated. People were seen clubbing one another in the streets, and pepper spray filled the air.”

Washington Post: “Despite the decision to quash the rally, clashes continued on side streets and throughout the downtown. In the early afternoon, three cars collided in a pedestrian mall packed with people, injuring at least 10 and sending bystanders running and screaming. It was unclear if it was accidental or intentional.”

The Charlottesville Daily Progress has some amazing photos of the violence.

Upset by Veto Override, LePage Wants to Hike Voting Age

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said that “he would propose increasing the age to vote or join the military to 21 to be consistent with a new law hiking the legal age to buy tobacco,” the Portland Press Herald reports.

“Unfortunately for LePage, two things would stand in his way: the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. military.”

“Six days after the Legislature overrode his veto, LePage was still venting on the radio and in a letter to lawmakers about what he views as their hypocrisy in raising the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 as a way to reduce Maine’s high youth smoking rates. While health groups cheered the new law, LePage called lawmakers ‘hypocrites’ and repeated his suggestion that perhaps 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds are also too young to cast ballots or choose to fight for the country.”

South Carolina AG Tried to Sideline Special Prosecutor

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) “enlisted the help of a central figure in the Statehouse corruption probe in an attempt to sideline the case’s special prosecutor just as the investigation was about to zero in on Wilson’s close allies,” according to emails obtained by the Charleston Post and Courier.

“It’s a highly unusual move that legal observers say raises serious questions about the allegiances of the state’s chief law enforcement official and his willingness to meddle in matters in which he had already revealed a potential conflict.”

Party Switch Caught Justice’s Staff By Surprise

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s decision to switch political parties, from Democrat to Republican, “apparently caught almost everyone in his administration and West Virginia politics by surprise,” the Charleston Gazette reports.

“A source close to the Justice administration said staffers were caught by surprise.”

Even chief of staff Nick Casey, who is a former state Democratic Party chairman, didn’t know anything about the party switch when asked: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”