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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  DeSantis Visits Iowa
      •  Trump's Support in Iowa is Slipping
      •  Trump's Legal Problems Mount
      •  Freedom Caucus Finally Says What It Wants
      •  Pence Enters a Brave New World
      •  Manchin Keeps Tweaking Biden
      •  Fox Is Still Going Strong
      •  Democrats Announce Their List of Frontline Incumbents
      •  Colorado GOP Picks an Election Denier to Run the State Party
      •  Boebert Will Be a Grandmother Next Month

If you would like to register your preferences for this year's NCAA-style bracket competition, there's still time. The ballot is here, and will be available until tonight at 10:00 p.m. PT. Tomorrow, we'll reveal the winning theme.

DeSantis Visits Iowa

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) visited Iowa on Friday. Nominally he was thee to pitch his new book but in reality he was there because, well, presidential candidates are expected to visit Iowa. As we have remarked numerous times already and will continue to remark going forward, DeSantis is quite smart. In particular, he (unlike Donald Trump) is capable of listening carefully to what his advisors tell him, analyzing their comments, and adjusting his behavior accordingly.

Specifically, DeSantis (again, unlike Trump) hates retail politics. He doesn't like talking to voters or donors. Florida is a big state with 22 million people. Those people do not expect to meet candidates for office. The way you win elections in Florida is to raise tens of millions of dollars and flood the airwaves in half a dozen major media markets with campaign ads carefully crafted by top media experts. DeSantis is good at that game.

That doesn't work in Iowa (or New Hampshire). There the voters do expect to meet candidates personally, ask them questions, and get answers. It is a standing joke in New Hampshire that one person asks another: "What do you think about candidate Jones?" and the reply is: "I don't know yet. I have met him only two times so far." Having to interact with the voters is something brand new for DeSantis. To his credit, he seems to have learned that this is necessary in Iowa and is trying to work on his retail politics.

Some things are easy. When a voter wants a selfie, all he has to do is stand there and force a smile. In his visit to Davenport on Friday, he stood around outside for 20 minutes allowing people to make selfies with him. He clearly didn't like it, as you can see in this picture taken in Iowa on Friday:

DeSantis holds a cut-out snowflake
and stands next to a voter while wearing an unpersuasive smile

But the Governor is starting to understand that this is the price he has to pay to get the GOP nomination and he is doing his best. That said, there are other things he still has to learn. When one Iowan asked about his three young children, DeSantis didn't answer and turned the conversation back to policy. He has to learn that no matter how uncomfortable this may be, he has to show his human side—assuming he has one. Voters want this. He should probably also learn that if someone hands you a prop to hold for your selfie shoot, you should be wary. See what happens if you zoom in on the photo above:

The snowflake has the word 'fascist'
hidden within it.


More generally on this theme, he is going to have to spend some time campaigning in New Hampshire, which is a bluish state. That means there are plenty of Democrats there, especially in the more populous southern part of the state. Many people there don't like him and will come to meet him and heckle him. How he handles that will test him. If he orders security to evict them by force and they resist, that will become the news story, not his views on woke. He had better learn how to deal with opposition on the ground, and fast.

In his close-to-the-vest, let's-keep-the-focus-on-the-issues approach, DeSantis is the mirror image of Trump. Trump knows practically nothing about policy and just appeals to his base's basest emotions. DeSantis knows everything about policy and has no emotions. When DeSantis shows up at the Iowa State Fair later this year, he is going to have to eat pork chops on a stick, corn dogs on a stick, monkey tails, and funnel cakes—and pretend to like them. It's not going to be easy. In other states people are going to give him Polish sausages, hot tamales, knishes, Rocky Mountain oysters, fried Snickers bars, fried pie, grits, clam chowder, South Carolina BBQ, North Carolina BBQ, East Carolina BBQ, West Carolina BBQ and many other local delicacies. Failing to eat them with relish (or, in some cases, without relish) can cost him votes.

There is the (perhaps apocryphal) story about George W. Bush campaigning in Florida in 2000 at a Jewish senior citizens center. He said he was hungry and immediately someone handed him a bowl with two spherical objects floating in some liquid. He whispered to an aide: "What are these?" The aide said: "Matzoh balls." Bush grimaced and said to the aide: "Do I have to eat them?" The aide said: "Yes. The Jewish vote is important in Florida." Bush looked nervously at the bowl and said to the aide: "What other parts of the matzoh do they eat?"

Sooner or later, DeSantis is going to have his own "matzoh balls" moment and he better not blow it like Jerry Ford and John Kerry. In 1976, Ford was campaigning in San Antonio when someone handed him a plate of tamales. He bit into one without removing the corn husk and nearly choked. He didn't know the husk is not edible. This was the biggest news story that day. Ford lost Texas and many observers blamed it on the tamale incident.

In 2004, John Kerry was campaigning in Philadelphia and was hungry. He ordered a Philly cheesesteak. Good move. Then he said he wanted Swiss cheese on it (instead of Cheez Whiz). That incident got him labeled him as an out-of-touch globalist and may have cost him the election.

DeSantis does not have that "everyman" touch that Bill Clinton has. He will definitely try to learn and avoid blunders, but it won't be easy for him and he may be caught faking it at some point. It could be costly. (V)

Trump's Support in Iowa is Slipping

How the Democrats will run their nominating contests next year is an open question, but for Republicans, it is certain that Iowa will go first and New Hampshire will go second. Consequently, what happens in the Iowa caucuses will be the first real clue about how Ron DeSantis stacks up against Donald Trump. DeSantis understands this and, as we note above, "campaigned" there on Friday. Legendary Iowa pollster Ann Selzer ran a poll last week to gauge the field of play. To start with, 80% of Iowa Republicans have a favorable view of Trump and 75% have a favorable view of DeSantis. But DeSantis has plenty of room to grow because 20% don't know enough to have an opinion of him. During the course of this year, all of them will get to know him well enough to have an opinion, so that could grow to as much as 95%. In contrast, Trump is maxed out. Only 1% don't know enough about him to have an opinion. That means 20,000 Iowans have been hiding under rocks for 8 years. We didn't realize that Iowa had that many rocks. What is noteworthy here is that in Sept. 2021, Trump's favorability was at 91%, so it is down 11% since then.

Selzer didn't ask about the primary. Perhaps she feels it is simply too early and the results would be misleading.

However, she did ask Republicans if they would vote for Trump if he were the Republican nominee. In June 2021, 69% would definitely vote for him and another 15% would probably vote for him, for a total of 84%. Last week, 47% said they would definitely vote for him and 27% would probably vote for him, for a total of 74%. The conclusion is that Trump has lost some support over the past year in Iowa. That doesn't answer the obvious question of who will win the Iowa caucuses, but we can't imagine the question just slipped Selzer's mind. Undoubtedly she will run that poll when she thinks it would be meaningful. (V)

Trump's Legal Problems Mount

We should probably just make a macro of that headline on our computers, as Donald Trump has so many legal problems that we keep needing it. There are so many that it is hard to keep track of them. Before getting into the latest development, here's a little table summarizing them. The order (in our non-lawyer opinion), is from least threatening to most threatening.

Type Venue Opponent Issues
Civil New York E. Jean Carroll Defamation lawsuit for calling Carroll a liar when she claimed he raped her
Criminal New York D.A. Alvin Bragg Falsifying business records, possibly tax fraud and more
Criminal Georgia D.A. Fani Willis Interfering with a state election
Criminal Federal Spec. Prosecutor Jack Smith Leading an insurrection trying to overturn a federal election
Criminal Federal Spec. Prosecutor Jack Smith Hiding classified defense documents even after being warned

The latest development is in the defamation lawsuit, so let's start there. Remember that on the infamous Access Hollywood tape, Trump describes himself as being attracted to beautiful women. He said: "I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything." On Friday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the tape could be played at the trial of the defamation lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll. He noted that Trump has already admitted that "he has had contact with women's genitalia in the past without their consent, or has attempted to do so." The judge reasoned that since Trump has essentially admitted that he committed sexual assault in the past, the jury might want to know this when evaluating Carroll's claim that he did it to her.

In addition, Kaplan ruled that two other women who claim that Trump sexually assaulted them may be called as witnesses at the trial. Jessica Leeds claims that Trump groped her on a flight from New York to Texas in 1979. Natasha Stoynoff, a reporter, claims that Trump attacked her when she was interviewing him for People magazine in 2005 at Mar-a-Lago. The combination of Trump admitting that he has no problem with sexual assault and two other women stating under oath that he did it to them make some members of the jury think: "Hmm, sexual assault seems to be part of his standard repertoire." In the end, the case comes down to whether the jury believes Trump raped her or whether Carroll is making the whole thing up. It's kind of a "he said, she said" case, except that she has three witnesses, one of whom is Trump himself.

We know that Trump is a skinflint, but given all his more serious trouble (below), we are surprised he hasn't tried to make this one go away. Carroll is a journalist and author. She's probably not rich. If Trump were to offer her, say, $10 million to drop the case, there's a good chance she would take it. After all, she might lose the case in court or win and be awarded much less than that. That said, if her primary goal is to take Trump down a few pegs—and it might well be—then no amount of money is going to cause her to drop the matter.

Now let's briefly summarize the other four cases, in case you've lost track. Former Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance was doing his best impression of Inspector Javert going after Trump for paying $130,000 in hush money to Stormy Daniels (actually, Stephanie Clifford) for what is probably the most-expensive one-night-stand in all of history. Vance also went after Trump for paying $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep quiet about their 10-month affair. There were at something like 50 "encounters," so the unit price was a more reasonable $3,000 each. McDougal was very naive and thought Trump loved her, even though he had recently married Melania. Daniels was probably just curious about Trump. Since her occupation required her to have sex with men she didn't know, one more was no big deal, even a freebie. Daniels never said whether Trump tried to pay her in cash. McDougal said Trump tried to pay her in cash the first time and she was very upset and told him: "I'm not that kind of girl."

Anyway, when Alvin Bragg succeeded Vance after his retirement, practically the first thing he did was tell the two very experienced prosecutors on the case, Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz, to drop the matter. They were furious and quit the D.A.'s office. More recently, Bragg has started it up again. He hasn't said what the charges might be. However, Trump's fixer at the time, Michael Cohen, paid the two women himself and Trump later reimbursed him with $420,000 to cover the payments, the taxes Cohen would have to pay on the income, and a bonus for work well done. Trump didn't disclose the payments as election expenses, which might be a violation of election law, although Trump's lawyers could argue that he wanted the women to keep quiet so Melania wouldn't find out. Then it wouldn't be an election law violation. But Trump is a pennypincher, so he had his company claim the $420,000 as "legal fees," which is a legitimate business expense. Of course, the payment wasn't for legal advice, so Bragg could charge Trump with falsifying business records, a state crime. Also, by claiming a $420,000 deduction to which he wasn't entitled, Trump reduced his state income tax. That's tax fraud. When choosing which crimes to indict Trump for, Bragg has to consider how he will explain them to a jury. To us, it seems that falsifying business records and tax fraud are easy to explain to a jury, but the election law violation is much trickier. Last week, Bragg invited Trump to testify before a grand jury. Typically that means that an indictment is imminent.

In the Georgia case, Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis empaneled a special grand jury to investigate crimes related to the 2020 Georgia election. It wrote a report that Willis handed to a regular grand jury for possible indictments. In late February, the forewoman of the special grand jury, Emily Kohrs, a 30-year-old woman who has worked as a customer-service representative but is currently unemployed—and who didn't vote in 2020—spilled some beans. She indicated that the special grand jury recommended indicting multiple people, including at least one whose indictment will surprise no one. Willis has also said that indictments are imminent.

Less is known about the two cases special prosecutor Jack Smith is working on, except that Smith is a ferocious prosecutor who leaves no stone unturned. He is working on two unrelated cases. One is Trump's role in the Jan. 6 coup attempt. That is a messy case and it might be difficult to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump violated some specific statute. One possibility might be "interfering with a federal proceeding," but Smith can pick any crime he thinks Trump committed and which a jury can understand. The other one is very cut and dried. Trump took classified defense documents home with him after he left the White House. When federal investigators found out, he denied having them. This is clearly a case of wilfully holding defense documents at an unauthorized location. If Smith brings this charge or another one related to classified material, he has a very strong case.

Anyway, hopefully this brings everyone up to speed on all of Trump's legal woes. The $64 million question is: "What happens if Trump is indicted in New York and Georgia in the next 2 months?" Trump will call it all a witch hunt and almost certainly continue with his campaign. Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who worked on the presidential campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in 2016, said: "Given all the unknowns right now, it's far too early to know the political impact. That said, it's hard to see how this is a positive for Trump, long-term. At a minimum, it's a distraction from the relatively well-disciplined campaign he's run in recent weeks. It will remind a lot of voters about the chaos that they really disliked during his administration." We agree with it not being a plus for Trump. His core supporters won't care, but nothing was going to dislodge them. However, Republicans who voted for him in 2020 because they hate Democrats might become more open to Ron DeSantis or some other Republican. In 1991, Edwin Edwards ran for a fourth term as governor of Louisiana—after having been tried and acquitted for multiple corruption-related crimes. His runoff opponent was KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. Some of his supporters had bumper stickers reading: "Vote for the crook—It's important." Edwards won. Maybe Trump will try to emulate Edwards although, last we checked, Joe Biden has never been a member of the KKK. Other Edwards supporters had bumper stickers reading: "Vote for the lizard, not the wizard," but that isn't apropos here. (V)

Freedom Caucus Finally Says What It Wants

Finally, the House Freedom Caucus has said what it will take for them to agree not to tank the U.S. and world economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling and having the U.S. default on its obligations. The caucus has presented a list of demands. The members said that if Joe Biden agrees to all of them, they will consider not destroying the world economy. Here is a brief summary:

  • Turn back the clock on federal discretionary spending by two years by slashing $131 billion from the budget.
  • End the president's student loan forgiveness policies.
  • Claw back COVID aid that hasn't been spent.
  • Restrict total non-defense spending to what it was 5 years ago.
  • Put a stop to the spending on climate programs that Democrats delivered last summer.
  • Generally reclaim as much Democratic-approved funding as possible.
  • Force the president to issue an inflation estimate with each executive order.
  • End federal energy regulations.
  • Claw back $80 billion from the IRS that's supposed to beef up tax enforcement.
  • Impose Clinton-era work requirements on welfare programs.

It is hard to imagine that even the most optimistic member of the FC expects Biden to agree to a single one of these, let alone all of them. So what's the purpose of the list? To show the base how they are fighting for conservative principles? That's all we can think of. If they were actually interested in making a deal, they would have come with a list that is at least somewhat plausible. This one is a total nonstarter. Maybe the FC thinks they have Biden in a vise and he has to give in.

That's not really the case, however. Biden would greatly prefer to make a deal than to use some "trick." The easiest route might be to get five House Republicans to vote with the Democrats. If that doesn't work, then he could simply claim that the Fourteenth Amendment means that the debt-ceiling law is in conflict with the Constitution and just ignore the law and wait to see what the Supreme Court does. He could also say that he doesn't have the authority to impound funds duly authorized by Congress so his obligation to spend money for programs Congress authorized overrides the debt-ceiling law. Or he could authorize one or more trillion-dollar coins. He is not powerless but he has to be willing to use his power.

That said, we are not yet close to default, so none of these things are currently on the table. Nevertheless, the White House reacted to the FC proposal by calling it a giveaway for the super-wealthy. Communications Director Ben LaBolt said: "This means that their plan, with all of the sacrifices they are asking of working-class Americans, will reduce the deficit by ... $0." He also said that the FC proposal would defund the police and make the border less secure. How's that for fighting fire with fire? He also criticized just about everything else in the plan. It is definitely a nonstarter, not even useful as a basis for future negotiations. Biden's budget, which we wrote about a couple times last week, was also quite partisan, but at least it could plausibly represent a starting point, since it includes some things that Republicans want, like deficit reduction and increased defense spending. (V)

Pence Enters a Brave New World

If there were a Toady Magazine and it had a "Toady of the Year" Award, Mike Pence would have swept it every year from 2017 to 2022. But not in 2023. It is hardly a secret that in private, nearly all Republican senators despise Donald Trump even more than they despise Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), but none of them dares to say a word criticizing Trump in public, That also holds for many other current and former Republican office holders, including—until this past Saturday—Mike Pence.

On Saturday, Pence spoke at the annual dinner for journalists at the prestigious Gridiron Club and said: "History will hold Donald Trump accountable for Jan. 6. Make no mistake about it: What happened that day was a disgrace, and it mocks decency to portray it in any other way. President Trump was wrong. His reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day."

What got into Pence? Food poisoning? Something in the water? Was he just in a foul mood? Was he unable to eat dinner because there were women in the room and none of them was his wife? Or is he running for president in the non-Trump lane? No other high-profile Republican, let alone a presidential candidate, has hit Trump so directly and hard. All the others (at least in public) treat him as "he who shall not be named." Pence's remarks had the room buzzing all evening. Mostly with two questions:

  1. Talking like this to journalists is one thing, but will he talk to Iowa Republicans like this when campaigning?
  2. If he feels like this, why is he challenging special prosecutor Jack Smith's subpoena?

If Pence follows up and continues to bash Trump, he will take a lot incoming fire from his former boss. Will he fight back? If so, it could help him if Trump flames out, but that seems unlikely at the moment. More likely, an open battle between Trump and Pence would allow Ron DeSantis to say he was the adult in the room and not have to bother attacking Trump himself, just letting Pence do all the heavy lifting. (V)

Manchin Keeps Tweaking Biden

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is actively annoying Joe Biden every way he can. This has led Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) to say: "He's running for something. I don't know what it is. He's going to have a tough race. I think West Virginia's redder than we are in Alabama. So he's going to put his best foot forward for a year and a half. We gotta think he's going to run." Tuberville doesn't know, but that makes some sense. If Manchin wants to get reelected in deep red West Virginia, he needs something to show to the voters.

One thing is that he keeps giving Biden a tough time. A second thing is that he can get stuff done. He is currently working on energy issues and might just get House Republicans to work with him so they can show the voters in 2024 that they aren't just a bunch of clowns. Manchin has a history of brokering bipartisan deals, so it is entirely possible that he could break the deadlock and get a bill or two passed. One of his pet projects is permiting reform. Under current practice, when a company wants to build a pipeline or other energy-related project, if opponents of the project can find a nice owl anywhere near it, they can hold it up in the courts for 10 years. He wants to end that and have permits either be granted or rejected within a year. No more dragging it out forever. Many Republicans and even some Democrats will go for that, so he might be able to put together a bipartisan bill on that, especially if the argument is to make America less dependent on foreign energy.

Tuberville may well have a point. If Manchin was planning on retiring, he wouldn't be working so furiously to tweak Biden and trying to get some legislation through Congress. That seems to indicate that Manchin is planning to run for something. But it could be for the open governor's mansion, which might be easier than having to compete with Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) in a Senate race. On the other hand, being governor of a small and impoverished state whose only industry is dying is kind of a step down from being the key vote on everything in the United States Senate. The only person who knows is Manchin, and he's not talking. (V)

Fox Is Still Going Strong

All the revelations about how Tucker Carlson, et al., despise their audience and think they are a bunch of ignorant yahoos who believe any garbage they are fed feed them hasn't affected Fox's ratings at all. For example, last week Fox marked the 100th consecutive week of being the top cable news network in the 25-54 age demographic. Data from Nielsen also show that despite all the recent headlines, viewership has remained constant.

There are two possibilities here. First, the Fox viewers' don't read newspapers, watch other TV networks, or get any news from the Internet so they don't know that Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity think they are fools. Second, they know and don't care as long as the "news" they are fed is what they want to hear. Philip Seib, a professor emeritus of journalism at USC, said: "That audience that Fox has, which is very similar to the core base of Donald Trump, is still going to want information. They're not going to switch to MSNBC or CNN." That appears to be true.

So far there is nothing out there suggesting that Fox is worried about losing part of its audience. Last week at an investor conference, Lachlan Murdoch, the top executive at Fox Corp., complimented Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and didn't suggest anything was wrong or needed to change. Indeed, as long as the ratings stay strong, Fox won't change. The applicable saying here is: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." And Fox doesn't think it's broke. (V)

Democrats Announce Their List of Frontline Incumbents

On Friday, DCCC Chair Suzan DelBene (D-WA) announced a list of 29 frontline House Democrats. These are incumbents who are especially vulnerable in 2024. They will get extra funding and assistance from the DCCC. DelBene called on Democrats who want to contribute to taking back the House to donate to these endangered members. Here is the list:

District PVI Incumbent
AK-AL R+8 Mary Peltola
ME-02 R+6 Jared Golden
WA-03 R+5 Marie Perez
PA-08 R+4 Matt Cartwright
OH-09 R+3 Marcy Kaptur
NC-13 R+2 Wiley Nickel
PA-07 R+2 Susan Wild
KS-03 R+1 Sharice Davids
OH-13 R+1 Emilia Sykes
MI-08 R+1 Dan Kildee

District PVI Incumbent
CO-08 EVEN Yadira Caraveo
NH-01 EVEN Chris Pappas
PA-17 EVEN Chris Deluzio

District PVI Incumbent
VA-07 D+1 Abigail Spanberger
MN-02 D+1 Angie Craig
NM-02 D+1 Gabriel Vasquez
MI-03 D+1 Hillary Scholten
WA-08 D+1 Kim Schrier
NY-18 D+1 Pat Ryan
NV-03 D+1 Susie Lee
NC-01 D+2 Don Davis
IL-17 D+2 Eric Sorensen
OH-01 D+2 Greg Landsman
IN-01 D+3 Frank Mrvan
CT-05 D+3 Jahana Hayes
CA-49 D+3 Mike Levin
IL-13 D+3 Nikki Budzinski
NV-04 D+3 Steven Horsford
OR-06 D+4 Andrea Salinas

Ten of the frontliners are in red districts, with PVIs from R+8 to R+1. Three are in EVEN districts. Sixteen are in very slightly blue districts, ranging from D+1 to D+4. It looks like DelBene got the list of PVIs from Charlie Cook and worked from there. Every Democrat in an R+x or EVEN district made the list. Every Democrat in a D+1 district made the list. Of the six Democrats in D+2 districts, half made the list and half didn't. Of the 11 Democrats in D+3 districts, only five of them made the list.

The PVI wasn't the only factor used to compile the list. Some of the incumbents who didn't make it may have something important going for them, such as being excellent fundraisers or having won in 2022 by a margin far greater than the lean of the district, indicating that they are popular and strong campaigners who don't need precious DCCC money.

The list does not include districts in New York and California currently held by vulnerable Republicans that will be bitterly contested (because the challengers aren't known yet). They will later appear in the red-to-blue list. It also doesn't include open seats, such as MI-07, which Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) is giving up to run for the Senate. Democrats need to net only five seats to retake the House in 2024.

DelBene (pronounced DELL-BENN-AY) knows what she is doing. She is now in her sixth term in the House. Before that she was an executive at Microsoft for 10 years and later founded several start-ups, including With a net worth of around $80 million (now the seventh richest person in the House), paying the grocery bill wasn't an issue, so she could switch fields and do something she really cared about. What might that be? She was born to a poor family in Selma, AL, in 1962. She was 3 when Martin Luther King Jr. led a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge that led to Bloody Sunday. That may not have registered with her then, but no doubt her parents mentioned it to her a couple of times when she was older. So eventually she got into politics as a Democrat. If the Democrats recapture the House, she will get a lot of the credit and is definitely a rising star. (V)

Colorado GOP Picks an Election Denier to Run the State Party

About 3 weeks ago, the Michigan Republican Party chose an election denier, Kristina Karamo, to run the party. Ditto Kansas and Idaho. Colorado Republicans apparently thought: "Hey, that looks like a good idea." So this weekend the Colorado Republican Party also picked an election denier as chair. He is Dave Williams, a former three-term state representative from Colorado Springs. He ran for secretary of state last year and lost the Republican primary. He claims that Donald Trump won the 2020 election and that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is a feckless leader. Williams won on the third ballot, after being endorsed by Tina Peters, a super Trumper who has been indicted on seven felony counts of attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, and other things. Just the kind of person to put you over the top.

Dick Wadhams, a former Colorado GOP leader, was none too happy with this choice. He said that the chairman is the spokesman for the state party and also holds some real power. One thing Williams wants to do is prevent independents from voting in the Republican primary. He also gets to select poll watchers. In his speech, Williams said that the Party can achieve power only if it stops reaching across the aisle and goes on offense, touting its conservative principles. He sounds like a good fit for Colorado—as it was about 30 years ago. As Colorado is now, maybe not so much.

Williams has his work cut out for him. Republicans have not won a major statewide race in Colorado in almost 10 years and their representation in the state legislature is the lowest in history.

For Colorado Democrats, this is probably a good thing. Williams is going to try to get election deniers, conspiracy theorists, and other loonies nominated, making it easy for a bluish state to turn deep blue. For Republicans interested in winning, like Wadhams, maybe not so good, though. (V)

Boebert Will Be a Grandmother Next Month

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) turned 36 in December. She is proud of the fact that rural teenagers have babies at a far greater rate than urban ones. And indeed, in April, one of her four sons, Tyler, will become a father at 17 and she will become a grandmother. We searched for information about the youngest grandma in House history but couldn't find any data. But it is quite likely that Boebert will break the record. Congratulations.

Having kids when you are still a kid is a family tradition with the Boeberts. She had Tyler, her first child, when she was in high school. She never went to college and soon had three more sons. She is also a big fan of guns and used to have a restaurant called "The Shooter's Grill" in Rifle, CO. But before you jump to any conclusions and think she is a hillbilly, remember that her district is in Western Colorado and is more mountainous than hilly. She could be a mountainbilly, though. Actually, though, she was born in Florida and grew up there and has no ties to Appalachia. So, J.D. Vance doesn't have competition.

If her grandchild follows the Boebert tradition and has a baby at 17, the representative could be a great-grandmother at 53 and maybe a great-great-grandmother at 70. We'll stop there. Although Boebert is a big supporter of family values, Tyler is not married. Apparently she didn't fully communicate her family values to him or maybe he was busy playing a video game when she did.

If you think you have seen this movie before, you probably have. In 2008, when then-44-year-old Sarah Palin was running for vice president, she announced at the Republican National Convention that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol Palin, was pregnant. Presidential candidate John McCain's advisors thought that a shotgun wedding would be a boon to the ticket. However, the baby's father, Levi Johnston, balked at it. The couple never got married. An abortion was out of the question since that would have ended mom's career instantly. In May 2009, Bristol appeared on Good Morning America to honor the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy as a subject-matter expert. She and Johnston were engaged but later broke it off. Then they got engaged again and broke it off again, so she moved on.

In March 2015, Bristol announced her engagement to Dakota Meyer. In May 2015, she announced her disengagement from Meyer. In June 2015, she announced that she was pregnant with Meyer's child. After the baby was born, she and Meyer got married. A year and a half later they got divorced. Clearly, Republicans hold family values dear. They just define "family" slightly differently from Democrats. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
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