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Republicans put a 24-year-old in charge of winning state legislatures — and he’s screwing up badly: report

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The 2020 election cycle is one of the most important in years — not just because it will decide whether President Donald Trump will serve a second term, but because state legislative races will determine which party controls the redistricting process in a number of states around the country.

In the previous such redistricting cycle, Republicans invested heavily at the local level and captured an overwhelming majority of state legislative seats, allowing them to aggressively gerrymander a number of states to lock in majorities for a decade. And they hope to accomplish the same thing in 2020 — but their current leadership isn’t doing so well.

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According to Politico, the Republican State Leadership Committee is in crisis, as their recently-appointed president, 24-year-old Austin Chambers, is facing a revolt from major party donors amid a series of failures. The RSLC is trailing its Democratic counterpart in fundraising, when in 2010 it had been able to outspend them 3 to 1. Furthermore, on a recent conference call, donors demanded to know why Chambers was moonlighting as a consultant for Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone — which Chambers insists did not distract him from his responsibilities at the RSLC.

“Viewed in the most favorable light, these actions create terrible optics at a crucial point in the redistricting cycle,” said one GOP official. “Not only do RSLC employees not have time for moonlighting — moonlighting undermines the confidence of the legislators involved in the organization and potentially some of its donors, too.”

The RSLC is coming off of the 2019 elections badly bruised. Republicans lost the Virginia General Assembly, giving Democrats unified control of the state government going into 2020, and they failed to win a supermajority in the Louisiana House of Representatives — meaning that freshly re-elected Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who bested Rispone, could have the power to block gerrymanders there as well.

This is on top of the fact that gubernatorial elections will give Democrats power to block GOP gerrymanders in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, while voter-approved ballot initiatives strip them of the power to do so in Michigan, Utah, and Missouri (although Republicans are trying to repeal the latter reform).

The upshot is that Republicans will have a harder time winning state legislatures, and using that power to gerrymander, than they did in the previous round of redistricting — and RSLC leadership’s chaos is not helping.

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Ivanka Trump’s tweet raises eyebrows: ‘Why is a senior White House official endorsing a food product?’

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As her big brother was dragging their 14-year-old half brother into the 2020 campaign, senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump was endorsing a line of canned food products.

If it’s Goya, it has to be good. Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno. pic.twitter.com/9tjVrfmo9z

— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 15, 2020

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Florida outbreak is ‘much worse’ than Gov. DeSantis is letting on: Former COVID-19 data chief

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Rebekah Jones, the Florida data scientist who in May claimed that she was fired for refusing to manipulate state coronavirus data to meet the Republican governor's reopening criteria, has issued a new warning: The ongoing outbreak is "much, much worse" than it has been painted by the administration.In a Monday interview with MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell, Jones, who built the state government's coronavirus data portal, identified a number of failures since she left her state job. Florida recently posted the highest daily caseload in a single day across all 50 U.S. states.
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2020 Election

Jeff Sessions’ fate is a warning for us all

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Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions lost his primary race to be the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama on Tuesday night in a landslide, according to Decision Desk HQ. Early returns showed him losing the shot to win back his old seat by more than 20 points to opponent Tommy Tuberville, who will face off against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November.

It wasn't a surprising loss for Sessions, though it is a brutal one. He gave up his seat in the Senate to become President Donald Trump's attorney general, and he lost his big chance to return because his one-time benefactor turned against him. Trump enthusiastically endorsed Tuberville while viciously and repeatedly denouncing Sessions.

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