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Critic slams Mike Pence's 'delusions of grandeur': He's might be turning on Trump — but he's no GOP savior
Esquire columnist Charlie Pierce is reminding voters that former Vice President Mike Pence is no savior for the mainstream GOP, even if he's going up against Trump in Georgia with a battle of endorsements.
Pence, he explained "is such a political maladroit that he makes Willard Romney look like Pericles." Pence tens to "yammer" about Jesus a lot, wrote Pierce, but other than that he's generally doing the worst possible things at the worst possible time.
Pierce remembered the time Pence signed the anti-LGBTQ bill on the same weekend as the Final Four basketball tournament. There was no game that day, Pierce recalled. But there were about 9,000 reporters sitting around doing nothing and waiting for news when Pence signing the bill fell in their laps. The story exploded. Companies with conferences and events scheduled for Indiana moved them to other states.
"Pence’s discriminatory bill had enormous consequences for Indiana’s economy and reputation," wrote the Human Rights Campaign in 2017. "Indianapolis’ non-profit tourism agency estimated that in their city alone, Pence’s anti-LGBTQ bill cost up to 12 conventions and $60 million in lost revenue. And polling conducted by HRC after the 2015 fight found that 75 percent of Hoosiers said the law was bad for the state’s economy, and 70 percent of those surveyed said they opposed it."
Pence ultimately walked back his comments.
In an interview with the New York Times, Pence was "overwhelmed by delusions of grandeur," wrote Pierce. While he aims at the Oval Office, he is promoting the four years he stood nodding behind Donald Trump's shoulder. Prior to that, Pence was racking up a list of failures that hurt his state. Raw Story crafted an extensive list of all of them from his policy mistake that led to an HIV outbreak to his mishandling of the Indiana economy.
Trump essentially saved Pence's career in 2016 when he was picked for the VP spot, said Pierce.
"Pence never has evinced the political skill to navigate these kind of lunatic circumstances, and being oblivious is not a strategy," wrote Pierce. "Pence’s most fundamental problem is that, except for that part at the end about saving America, everything the Trump flack said is true. Pence was firmly atop the scrap heap when he took the job of running with El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago. He may have thought the notion of Trump’s actually being elected was as far-fetched as everybody else did throughout. Once it happened, even his wife reportedly was ambivalent about the black hole to which Pence had hitched his wagon."
Trying for Pence to pivot away from it isn't going to be possible, concluded Pierce. After all, more than of the party doesn't trust him because of Jan. 6, he closed.
On Monday, the Washington Examiner reported that David McCormick, a hedge fund executive running for the Republican nomination for Senate in Pennsylvania, is suing to count certain absentee ballots, as he and the Trump-backed candidate, celebrity TV talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, face an automatic recount to determine who wins the primary.
"The lawsuit, filed late Monday in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, asks the state to force all 67 counties' boards of elections to count Republican mail-in ballots received on time but without a handwritten date on the outside envelope, as mandated by the statute," reported David M. Drucker.
McCormick's lawsuit rests in part on a federal court decision late last week, ruling that such ballots are valid.
"Oz led McCormick by .08 percentage points with most precincts reporting as ballots continued to be counted six days after the primary election," said the report. "But McCormick says that he believes he won the nomination and insists he will overtake Oz once remaining Republican mail-in ballots are tallied. With some Election Day votes and a sizable number of mail-in ballots and overseas military ballots left to count, McCormick’s claims are viable."
"Going to court, however, presents a political risk for McCormick, at least in the court of Republican public opinion," said the report. "Former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Oz, is critical of mail-in ballots generally, as well as lawsuits filed to force states and municipalities to count votes in ways not expressly permitted by state law. Grassroots conservatives have historically opposed court-ordered rules changes but not necessarily mail-in balloting. But haranguing by Trump has made Republican voters suspicious of the latter and even more troubled by the former."
Trump, for his part, has raged against the ongoing count on his platform, Truth Social, demanding that officials stop counting votes and urging Oz to declare himself the winner. This is similar to Trump's attitude during the 2020 presidential election, when he and his supporters tried to force election officials to "stop the count" in states where Trump was ahead but where there were outstanding votes for Joe Biden to count.
Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters made attacks on Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold a focal point of her pitch to Republican primary voters during a Saturday debate in Denver.
A district court judge recently sided with Griswold in a lawsuit the secretary brought against Peters, barring the clerk from overseeing elections in her county. But Peters, who is running for secretary of state, claimed innocence during the debate, which was hosted by several Republican organizations at the Grizzly Rose concert hall.
“She knows that I know where the bodies are buried, and she knows I’m coming after her,” Peters said.
The 2020 election results and election security were prominent issues at the debate. Peters and Mike O’Donnell, also a Republican secretary of state candidate, shared what they saw as a need for more secure elections. O’Donnell said he wants voters who have died removed from voter rolls and higher regulation of mail-in ballots. He also said he believes county clerks and the secretary of state should receive election training.
Peters is currently under indictment for giving unauthorized access to county voting equipment, causing an alleged security breach. The candidate was critical of Senate Bill 22-153, which increases election security measures, calling it “tyranny.” Later in the debate, she was vocal about her belief that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election.
Colorado’s primary election is June 28. Republican candidates for secretary of state, state attorney general, representative for the 8th Congressional District, governor, state treasurer, state Board of Education at-large and the U.S. Senate were all present at Saturday’s debate. Pam Anderson, a secretary of state candidate, was absent due to her daughter’s graduation. Lori Saine, a Weld County commissioner and a leading Republican candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat, was unable to participate in the event after failing to RSVP.
The new 8th District seat will be crucial in deciding control of the House, which currently has a slim Democratic majority. Candidate Jan Kulmann said the seat is an opportunity for Republicans to “take back the House.”
Governor candidates Greg Lopez and Heidi Ganahl discussed their beliefs around abortion, climate change and what changes they want to see at the state level.
The conservative candidates criticized Colorado’s new Reproductive Health Equity Act. Lopez said he is “pro-life” with no exceptions, including for incest and rape. State Rep. Ron Hanks, a U.S. Senate candidate, holds a similar view, believing that life begins at conception.
“As it stands right now, Colorado is in a bad spot based off of legislation that we fought so hard to push back against,” said Hanks. “But, if we work to get conservatives — keyword conservatives, not Republicans, conservatives — in the state House and the state Senate, we have the opportunity to define what Colorado wants. It’s not coming from (Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer) and this leftist cabal that does not believe life begins at conception.”
Both Ganahl and Lopez said water is an important issue in the state, and farmers and ranchers should have priority in accessing it. Lopez wants Colorado to limit population growth to control the demand for water in the state. However, when the two discussed climate change, neither candidate identified it as a priority.
Ganahl said if she is elected governor she plans to reduce the size of state agencies overseeing public health and transportation. However, the candidate said she wants to lower suicide rates and reduce illegal drug use across the state. She also said she wants to cut income taxes to zero percent in her first term but, when asked, did not reveal how she plans to do so.
Many candidates mentioned a desire to build a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico. Hanks believes the country needs to “secure” its border to handle the ongoing fentanyl crisis.
Hanks and his Republican opponent, Denver construction executive Joe O’Dea, spent most of their debate time going head-to-head on issues, with O’Dea claiming Hanks does not “show up to work” at the General Assembly.
Nico Delgado, a spokesperson for the Colorado Democratic Party, said that Hanks and O’Dea used the debate “to tear each other down and expose their far-right agenda that is too out of touch for Colorado.”
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