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The Decimation of Local News Has Lawmakers Crossing the Aisle

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165018315_770f549d-2c9c-489e-843b-3139f75c32ef-facebookJumbo The Decimation of Local News Has Lawmakers Crossing the Aisle United States Politics and Government Online Advertising Northeast Georgian, The (Newspaper) Newspapers News and News Media Law and Legislation Google Inc Georgia Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet Community Newspapers Inc Collins, Douglas A (1966- ) Cicilline, David N Antitrust Laws and Competition Issues

CORNELIA, Ga. — When a sport utility vehicle swerved out of its lane several weeks ago, slamming into a pickup truck and killing a teenager, a reporter from The Northeast Georgian raced to the scene. Within hours, the paper had posted the news on Facebook and updated it twice. It was shared by hundreds of people on the social network.

The fatal wreck consumed the town of Cornelia, Ga., nestled near the Chattahoochee National Forest about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta. The Northeast Georgian was the first to report the news, but unless the people who shared its story on Facebook follow a link to its website, either to see an ad or to subscribe to its twice-weekly print edition, the paper won’t get paid.

As with many small papers across the country, that business strategy is not working for The Northeast Georgian. The paper’s five employees do not just report and write. They also edit the articles, take photographs and lay out the newspaper.

“My grandmother used to say, ‘Honey, if you let them get milk through the fence, they’ll never buy the cow,’” said Dink NeSmith, chief executive of Community Newspapers Inc., which owns The Northeast Georgian and 23 other local papers.

But the tough economics facing small newspapers like Mr. NeSmith’s has generated rare bipartisan agreement in Washington.

Anger toward big technology companies has led to multiple antitrust investigations, calls for a new federal data privacy law and criticism of the companies’ political ad policies. Perhaps no issue about the tech companies, though, has united lawmakers in the Capitol like the decimation of local news.

Lawmakers from both parties blame companies like Facebook and Google, which dominate the online ad industry.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, gave a big boost last week to a bill that may provide some papers a lifeboat. The proposal would give news organizations an exemption from antitrust laws, allowing them to band together to negotiate with Google and Facebook over how their articles and photos are used online, and what payments the newspapers get from the tech companies. (The bill is backed by the News Media Alliance, a trade group that represents news organizations including The New York Times Company.)

The proposal was sponsored by Representative Doug Collins, a conservative Georgia Republican whose district includes Cornelia. It was written by Representative David Cicilline, a liberal Democrat from Rhode Island. Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, sponsored an identical version in the Senate. Prominent co-sponsors joined, including Democrats like Cory Booker of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky.

For the politicians, the issue is personal. They see news deserts in places where one or two local newspapers used to track their campaigns and official actions, keep local police departments and school boards accountable, and stitch together communities with big layouts on Main Street holiday parades and high school sports stars.

“I am a free-markets guy and have fought against the idea that just because something is big it is necessarily bad,” Mr. Collins said. “But look, I’m a politician and live with the media and see its importance. These big, disruptive platforms are making money off creators of content disproportionately.”

Facebook and Google declined to comment about the legislation. Representatives of the companies say their businesses have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on programs to bolster local journalism. The companies also work with news organizations to promote their articles and videos, driving traffic to their websites.

Facebook recently announced partnerships with major news organizations, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and CNN, that would see some of the publishers paid for the content they share.

“We know this is a challenging time for journalism,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, said in a statement. “And we are working closely with publishers to find new ways to address those challenges.”

A Google spokeswoman said, “Every month, Google News and Google Search drive over 24 billion visits to publishers’ websites, which drive subscriptions and significant ad revenue.”

Newspapers have faced devastating financial losses for years. One in five newspapers has closed since 2004 in the United States, and about half of the nation’s more than 3,000 counties have only one newspaper, many of them printing weekly, according to a report by the University of North Carolina published in late 2018. In the last year alone, Facebook and Google added tens of thousands of employees and reported billions of dollars in profits.

Take Mr. Collins’s district in northern Georgia. The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the state’s biggest newspaper, has cut its staff by half in the past eight years. In Mr. Collins’s hometown, The Gainesville Times, one of the biggest papers in its region, cut its weekly print publication schedule to five days from seven a year ago.

The demand for local news remains. One day shortly after the fatal car crash, all of the discussion at Fender’s Diner, a 1950s-inspired eatery in Cornelia, was about the victim and allegations that the woman behind the wheel of the S.U.V. had been drinking.

“I care more about the people who walk through my front door of my place and the issues that matter to them than anything going on in Washington,” said Bradley Cook, the owner of the restaurant.

Many local leaders say the power of local newspapers was on display recently in Jesup, in southeastern Georgia. One of Mr. NeSmith’s papers in the area, The Press Sentinel in Wayne County, discovered that an Arizona-based company backed by wealthy investors, including Bill Gates, had quietly applied to dump 10,000 tons of coal ash per day in Jesup.

The paper published more than 70 articles about the application, and Mr. NeSmith wrote several editorials. The attention led to public hearings, and the company, Republic Services, to delay its plans.

Many officials also say that without robust local coverage, they are constantly fighting against misinformation that spreads on social media. After the Board of Commissioners in Habersham County, Ga., proposed a bond issue to expand the county jail, speculation spread online about the motivations for the project and the burden for taxpayers, said Stacy Hall, the board’s chairman. Voters defeated the proposal in November.

“Disinformation on social media is our No. 1 problem,” Mr. Hall said. “There is a crisis in getting the facts — the basic facts that only community newspapers can provide.”

The proposed antitrust exemption for news organizations still faces hurdles. Congress passed few bills of note in 2019 — and it may pass even fewer this year, in the face of impeachment and the November election. Conservative think tanks and some consumer groups are pushing back on the bill, wary of giving any antitrust exemptions to businesses.

“Instead of trying to innovate and find solutions that way,” said Neil Chilson, a senior research fellow for technology and innovation at the Charles Koch Institute, “they are trying to make better deals with people with more money, and that doesn’t solve their basic business-model problems.”

Supporters of the legislation said it was not a magic pill for profitability. It could, they say, benefit newspapers with a national reach — like The Times and The Washington Post — more than small papers. Facebook, for instance, has never featured articles from Mr. NeSmith’s newspaper chain in its “Today In” feature, an aggregation of local news from the nation’s smallest papers that can drive a lot of traffic to a news site.

“It will start with larger national publications, and then the question is how does this trickle down,” said Otis A. Brumby III, the publisher of The Marietta Daily Journal in Georgia.

But the supporters say it could stop or at least slow the financial losses at some papers, giving them time to create a new business model for the internet.

“The tech industry platforms benefit from our news,” said Robin Rhodes, the executive director of the Georgia Press Association, which supports the proposal. “And we need to be on a level playing ground.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Decimation of Local News Has Lawmakers Crossing the Aisle

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165018315_770f549d-2c9c-489e-843b-3139f75c32ef-facebookJumbo The Decimation of Local News Has Lawmakers Crossing the Aisle United States Politics and Government Online Advertising Northeast Georgian, The (Newspaper) Newspapers News and News Media Law and Legislation Google Inc Georgia Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet Community Newspapers Inc Collins, Douglas A (1966- ) Cicilline, David N Antitrust Laws and Competition Issues

CORNELIA, Ga. — When a sport utility vehicle swerved out of its lane several weeks ago, slamming into a pickup truck and killing a teenager, a reporter from The Northeast Georgian raced to the scene. Within hours, the paper had posted the news on Facebook and updated it twice. It was shared by hundreds of people on the social network.

The fatal wreck consumed the town of Cornelia, Ga., nestled near the Chattahoochee National Forest about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta. The Northeast Georgian was the first to report the news, but unless the people who shared its story on Facebook follow a link to its website, either to see an ad or to subscribe to its twice-weekly print edition, the paper won’t get paid.

As with many small papers across the country, that business strategy is not working for The Northeast Georgian. The paper’s five employees do not just report and write. They also edit the articles, take photographs and lay out the newspaper.

“My grandmother used to say, ‘Honey, if you let them get milk through the fence, they’ll never buy the cow,’” said Dink NeSmith, chief executive of Community Newspapers Inc., which owns The Northeast Georgian and 23 other local papers.

But the tough economics facing small newspapers like Mr. NeSmith’s has generated rare bipartisan agreement in Washington.

Anger toward big technology companies has led to multiple antitrust investigations, calls for a new federal data privacy law and criticism of the companies’ political ad policies. Perhaps no issue about the tech companies, though, has united lawmakers in the Capitol like the decimation of local news.

Lawmakers from both parties blame companies like Facebook and Google, which dominate the online ad industry.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, gave a big boost last week to a bill that may provide some papers a lifeboat. The proposal would give news organizations an exemption from antitrust laws, allowing them to band together to negotiate with Google and Facebook over how their articles and photos are used online, and what payments the newspapers get from the tech companies. (The bill is backed by the News Media Alliance, a trade group that represents news organizations including The New York Times Company.)

The proposal was sponsored by Representative Doug Collins, a conservative Georgia Republican whose district includes Cornelia. It was written by Representative David Cicilline, a liberal Democrat from Rhode Island. Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, sponsored an identical version in the Senate. Prominent co-sponsors joined, including Democrats like Cory Booker of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky.

For the politicians, the issue is personal. They see news deserts in places where one or two local newspapers used to track their campaigns and official actions, keep local police departments and school boards accountable, and stitch together communities with big layouts on Main Street holiday parades and high school sports stars.

“I am a free-markets guy and have fought against the idea that just because something is big it is necessarily bad,” Mr. Collins said. “But look, I’m a politician and live with the media and see its importance. These big, disruptive platforms are making money off creators of content disproportionately.”

Facebook and Google declined to comment about the legislation. Representatives of the companies say their businesses have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on programs to bolster local journalism. The companies also work with news organizations to promote their articles and videos, driving traffic to their websites.

Facebook recently announced partnerships with major news organizations, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and CNN, that would see some of the publishers paid for the content they share.

“We know this is a challenging time for journalism,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, said in a statement. “And we are working closely with publishers to find new ways to address those challenges.”

A Google spokeswoman said, “Every month, Google News and Google Search drive over 24 billion visits to publishers’ websites, which drive subscriptions and significant ad revenue.”

Newspapers have faced devastating financial losses for years. One in five newspapers has closed since 2004 in the United States, and about half of the nation’s more than 3,000 counties have only one newspaper, many of them printing weekly, according to a report by the University of North Carolina published in late 2018. In the last year alone, Facebook and Google added tens of thousands of employees and reported billions of dollars in profits.

Take Mr. Collins’s district in northern Georgia. The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the state’s biggest newspaper, has cut its staff by half in the past eight years. In Mr. Collins’s hometown, The Gainesville Times, one of the biggest papers in its region, cut its weekly print publication schedule to five days from seven a year ago.

The demand for local news remains. One day shortly after the fatal car crash, all of the discussion at Fender’s Diner, a 1950s-inspired eatery in Cornelia, was about the victim and allegations that the woman behind the wheel of the S.U.V. had been drinking.

“I care more about the people who walk through my front door of my place and the issues that matter to them than anything going on in Washington,” said Bradley Cook, the owner of the restaurant.

Many local leaders say the power of local newspapers was on display recently in Jesup, in southeastern Georgia. One of Mr. NeSmith’s papers in the area, The Press Sentinel in Wayne County, discovered that an Arizona-based company backed by wealthy investors, including Bill Gates, had quietly applied to dump 10,000 tons of coal ash per day in Jesup.

The paper published more than 70 articles about the application, and Mr. NeSmith wrote several editorials. The attention led to public hearings, and the company, Republic Services, to delay its plans.

Many officials also say that without robust local coverage, they are constantly fighting against misinformation that spreads on social media. After the Board of Commissioners in Habersham County, Ga., proposed a bond issue to expand the county jail, speculation spread online about the motivations for the project and the burden for taxpayers, said Stacy Hall, the board’s chairman. Voters defeated the proposal in November.

“Disinformation on social media is our No. 1 problem,” Mr. Hall said. “There is a crisis in getting the facts — the basic facts that only community newspapers can provide.”

The proposed antitrust exemption for news organizations still faces hurdles. Congress passed few bills of note in 2019 — and it may pass even fewer this year, in the face of impeachment and the November election. Conservative think tanks and some consumer groups are pushing back on the bill, wary of giving any antitrust exemptions to businesses.

“Instead of trying to innovate and find solutions that way,” said Neil Chilson, a senior research fellow for technology and innovation at the Charles Koch Institute, “they are trying to make better deals with people with more money, and that doesn’t solve their basic business-model problems.”

Supporters of the legislation said it was not a magic pill for profitability. It could, they say, benefit newspapers with a national reach — like The Times and The Washington Post — more than small papers. Facebook, for instance, has never featured articles from Mr. NeSmith’s newspaper chain in its “Today In” feature, an aggregation of local news from the nation’s smallest papers that can drive a lot of traffic to a news site.

“It will start with larger national publications, and then the question is how does this trickle down,” said Otis A. Brumby III, the publisher of The Marietta Daily Journal in Georgia.

But the supporters say it could stop or at least slow the financial losses at some papers, giving them time to create a new business model for the internet.

“The tech industry platforms benefit from our news,” said Robin Rhodes, the executive director of the Georgia Press Association, which supports the proposal. “And we need to be on a level playing ground.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Impeachment Unites Many Americans in a Desire for ‘Anything But Politics’

Westlake Legal Group 18impeach-screens08-facebookJumbo Impeachment Unites Many Americans in a Desire for ‘Anything But Politics’ United States Politics and Government Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment Houston (Tex) Greeley (Colo) Georgia Chicago (Ill) Albuquerque (NM)

It was a momentous day in American history. But, by all indications, it was not a momentous day in the lives of most Americans.

So while the House of Representatives debated the impeachment of President Trump, one man in Houston was more focused on a $279 speeding ticket. Tourists in Chicago savored an impeachment-free shopping day. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 401 in Albuquerque followed a simple mantra: “Anything but politics, man.”

Americans may be deeply invested in the outcome of impeachment. They might adore or loathe Mr. Trump. But as history played out Wednesday amid the bombast and rancor of impeachment proceedings, many of them seemed intent on looking elsewhere.

HOUSTON

It was Judgment Day, but Ray Martin had no regrets about conduct or process.

Mr. Martin, 58, a building engineer, had decided to see what his newly purchased four-cylinder pickup truck could do on Interstate 45. It could do quite a bit, it turns out. He went to municipal court in Houston and accepted his $279 speeding ticket on Wednesday without complaint. “I didn’t even know I was doing 110,” he said.

As for the other judgment being rendered in Washington, he had not watched any of the impeachment proceedings but said he supported the president. “I hate that he’s going through it,” Mr. Martin said. “I feel like he’s good for America right now. He’s a strong leader.”

— Manny Fernandez

CHICAGO

The tourists and office workers milling around the open-air Christmas market in downtown Chicago had a few things on their minds. Snapping up porcelain ornaments and knit gloves for last-minute Christmas gifts. Staying warm in frigid 17-degree air. Deciding whether to have a second glühwein, the hot spiced drink sipped out of tiny white mugs shaped like boots.

“Impeachment? Not something we’re talking about today,” said Gary Nadeau, from Deer Park, Ill., who was on an excursion with his wife, Paula, and another couple.

The couples had stopped at the Christkindlmarket for wine and hot pretzels before heading to a matinee. “Have fun, see ‘Hamilton,’ have a little libation,” Mr. Nadeau said. “That’s it.”

They all agreed that Mr. Trump was likely to be re-elected next year, and that being impeached would not really change anyone’s minds. “It’s all just partisan,” Leah Peszek, 54, said of the impeachment proceedings. “Seems like a waste of time.”

“He’s a jerk,” she said of Mr. Trump, “But he’s doing good for the economy.”

— Julie Bosman

ATLANTA

The conversation at an Atlanta sports bar wasn’t about sports.

“Get him out of office quick,” said Tyjuana Rosenthal, who had been keeping an eye on the proceedings. “I pay attention,” she added, noting the Trump administration’s proposals for pushing people off welfare. “He’s trying to take away stuff that people need.”

Canyon Williams was mesmerized by it all, seeing what seemed like history unfolding in front of her. “I’m kind of confused by some of the answers,” she said after watching the debate.

She had come to a conclusion: “He abuses power,” Ms. Williams said after her waitressing shift had ended and she had left the bar. But she also had some hesitation about Mr. Trump being pushed from office. “I just don’t want Mike Pence to be president,” she said.

— Rick Rojas

NASHVILLE

Zakariya Sayid, 27, stood behind the bar at The Horn Coffee in Nashville and prepared one of his signature Somali chai teas. The warm smell of spices greeted the regulars walking in from the cold.

Mr. Sayid, who supports Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary, worried that impeaching Mr. Trump was not a great idea.

“If he does not get impeached, you added fuel to his campaign,” he said. “If he does get impeached, you have 80 to 90 million people who are mad. Now they see the whole world was against him. You give him a higher chance of re-election.”

Normally he does not watch much news, but he had plans to check in after the vote on Wednesday. He thought of people who, until impeachment, had told him they were not going to vote for Mr. Trump next fall.

“Now, they’re thinking twice,” he said. “He’ll become more of a hero.”

— Elizabeth Dias

ALBUQUERQUE

At the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 401 in Albuquerque, members filed in on Wednesday afternoon for a $5 lunch of tacos, rice and beans. Some ordered Budweisers for $2.75. The television was tuned to ESPN, where hosts were talking football.

“Anything but politics, man,” said Miguel Perez, 36, a Marine Corps veteran from southern New Mexico who volunteers at the post when he is not working as a cook and bartender elsewhere in Albuquerque.

Mr. Perez said members of the V.F.W. Post, near Kirtland Air Force Base, learned their lesson when tempers got heated around the 2016 presidential election. “We don’t want our guys throwing beer bottles at each other,” he said.

Going further, Mr. Perez, who grew up on the border with Mexico, said that he understood the Democrats’ arguments for impeachment but was put off by the entire process. “Personally, I’d like them to leave the guy alone,” he said. “Just let the president do his job.”

— Simon Romero

VILLa RICA, GA.

More than a dozen television screens were on at the Cinema Tavern Sports Bar & Grill, and not a single one was showing the House of Representatives debate impeachment.

Jamie Willis, 37, an electrician, was drinking a beer while watching one of the screens showing the Georgia Lottery’s Keno numbers. He said he preferred to catch up on news after the dust had settled. “I think people jump to conclusions too fast,” he said.

Mr. Willis leans libertarian and originally feared that Mr. Trump might be a liberal in disguise. These days, with the economy booming, he says Mr. Trump may be the best American president of his lifetime.

Beverly Parton, 71, a retired teacher, voted for Mr. Trump but said she thought he had overstepped in his dealings with Ukraine. “If he’s using his office as a springboard to defame someone else, that’s not right,” she said.

Still, Ms. Parton did not feel that she had to watch every last impeachment hearing. She read a paperback thriller by Tami Hoag instead, waiting for her popcorn shrimp to emerge from the kitchen.

— Richard Fausset

NEW YORK

Almost a year later, Maria Charman is still bitter about the government shutdown that threatened to close the Statue of Liberty and send her home from her job. As she stood below Lady Liberty’s torch on Wednesday, she said she would take personal satisfaction in the evening, when she planned to turn on the television and watch lawmakers vote to impeach Mr. Trump.

“I’m going to watch the news because I want to see him go down,” she said. “To make a long story short, he should have been impeached long ago. He’s not for the people, he’s for himself.”

Ms. Charman immigrated from Trinidad and Tobago and said she had been most bothered by the Trump administration’s separation of children from their families at the border and what she said was his inattention to the homeless and mentally ill. But the government shutdown — during which New York State stepped in to keep the Statue of Liberty open by paying $65,000 a day — also stung personally, and displayed what she said was Mr. Trump’s lack of empathy for the working class.

“Man, to try to take away money from people’s pockets, from people trying to feed their family? It’s terrible,” she said moments after pushing a couple closer to each other and snapping a portrait.

— Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

BOSTON

In Boston, the television at Darcy’s Barber Shop was tuned to a man at a desk shuffling papers, but it turned out to be “The People’s Court,” not the impeachment proceedings. Bernard McCollin, the shop’s owner, said that he was following the impeachment closely, but that his young clients had little interest in it.

Matthew Olivero walked in and handed Mr. McCollin a stack of mail. He had almost forgotten that the impeachment hearings were going on, since none of the businesses he had delivered mail to on that busy strip had it playing on television. He lingered awhile to banter about politics with the customer in Mr. McCollin’s chair, casting doubt on whether impeachment hearings were worth all the time and energy.

Farah Stockman

LOS ANGELES

At Spaces, a co-working space in downtown Los Angeles filled with designers and artists and lawyers, a television was broadcasting the impeachment proceedings but no one was sitting on the pink couch and watching.

Felicia Felix, the sales manager, blamed the lack of interest on the fact that Mr. Trump is unlikely to be removed from office. If that was truly at stake with the impeachment vote, she said, people would most likely be gathered around the TV eating popcorn and drinking beer.

“I’ve lost faith in the process and I’ve lost faith in the country,” said Ms. Felix, 28.

But in a world of the bored, pained, resigned and tuned out, there is also Taj Garmon, a 41-year-old fashion designer who has been following every twist and turn of the impeachment saga. “I wake up to it,” he said. “I go to sleep to it.”

Mr. Garmon, an ardent opponent of Mr. Trump, said he was the lone person in his office who seemed to care, but care he does: “I read about it all day at my desk,” he said. “I kind of obsess over it.”

— Tim Arango

Greeley, Colo.

In the dining room of the Red Sea restaurant in Greeley, Colo., Hienok Keflay, 35, a refugee from Eritrea, followed the congressional speeches between cooking orders of goat and berbere-spiced vegetables.

To Mr. Keflay, who fled political violence in Eritrea and recently opened a restaurant in northeast Colorado, it was simply amazing to watch politicians and journalists freely debate whether to remove a president.

“I see it as a beautiful thing — the law of the country is working,” he said. “From where I came from, you can’t say anything negative about the president.”

— Jack Healy

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Can’t Resist Campaigning for Governors. But They Can Resist Him.

Westlake Legal Group 00govs-memo1-facebookJumbo Trump Can’t Resist Campaigning for Governors. But They Can Resist Him. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Midterm Elections (2018) Louisiana Loeffler, Kelly L Kentucky Kemp, Brian P Governors (US) Georgia Florida Elections, Governors DeSantis, Ron Bevin, Matthew

His grip on Republican senators has held in the lead-up to a historic impeachment trial. Members of the House have faced the prospect of retiring before going against him. And he frequently boasts about his strong approval ratings among Republican voters.

Yet for a party leader who inspires fear in Washington, President Trump has been bedeviled by governor’s races time and again, even after his aggressive campaigning has helped Republican candidates win.

Unable to modulate his excitement for other people’s political battles — and, according to advisers, not understanding the distinct incentives for governors who run their own states and senators who have to work with him in Washington — Mr. Trump has plunged headfirst into contests that have done little but expose his own political vulnerabilities.

In the last month, two Republican candidates the president supported lost their off-year races for governor, puncturing his self-proclaimed role as kingmaker. But even his successes in the 2018 governor’s races have left him disappointed: The winners he championed, once in office, have defied his wishes and cast aside his allies, as recently as this past week.

“Fundamentally, unlike members of the House and the Senate, there’s no element of dependency that goes with being in Washington” for governors, said Mark Sanford, a former governor of South Carolina who recently ended his quixotic bid to challenge Mr. Trump for the Republican nomination.

“There’s a degree of political autonomy” that governors have, he added.

Mike DuHaime, a Republican strategist who advised former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, put it more bluntly: “Many members of Congress are scared of the president’s ability to take them out in a primary — governors are less so.”

The examples have piled up over the last 18 months, as some of Mr. Trump’s aides have winced at how aggressively he wanted to participate in particular campaigns despite their urging him to stay out of those races.

For those candidates who won their governor’s races, their own political needs have since overshadowed those of Mr. Trump, and they have less incentive to fear him once elected.

In Florida, Mr. Trump’s aides helped save the flailing candidacy of Ron DeSantis in the 2018 Republican primary, and then the general election. Also last year, in Georgia, Mr. Trump helped pull Brian Kemp over the finish line in both the primary and the general election. In both cases, Mr. Trump’s advisers implored him to stay out of the primaries, and he agreed to — only to surprise his aides by jumping in to support Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Kemp.

Once that happened, Mr. Trump’s aides sought to make the best of it, trying to net victories in the states with an eye toward having allies there in 2020.

But since his election, Mr. DeSantis — once a congressman who frequently jabbed at Mr. Trump’s critics during the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III — has seemed fine bucking the president.

He has steered clear of public defenses of Mr. Trump, preferring not to spend his political capital by wading into national issues. He has indicated to reporters that he will be too busy to put much time toward helping Mr. Trump in his re-election battle.

And in a move that jolted Florida politics, the president’s campaign complied with a demand by Mr. DeSantis that Mr. Trump fire his own re-election campaign’s top Florida adviser, Susie Wiles, who has been credited with helping elect not only Mr. Trump in 2016 but also Mr. DeSantis in 2018.

Mr. DeSantis, who is seen as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024, viewed her as insufficiently loyal to him — and too close to another potential presidential candidate, former Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, whom she also helped elect, according to four people briefed on the events.

Her dismissal, in September, was agreed to by Mr. Trump and Brad Parscale, the president’s campaign manager, but the move infuriated a number of Trump advisers, who believe Ms. Wiles was an asset and who think the campaign should not have bent to a demand from a governor whom Mr. Trump assisted.

More recently, Mr. Trump was ignored by Mr. Kemp as the president pressed for an ally to fill the seat of Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who is retiring at the end of the year. Mr. Trump favored Representative Doug Collins, an appointment that would have given him an additional loyalist in the Senate as an impeachment trial looms in that chamber.

But Mr. Kemp on Wednesday chose Kelly Loeffler, a business executive who he believes will not turn off the suburban women whose support he needs.

Mr. Kemp took Ms. Loeffler to meet Mr. Trump at the White House at a secret gathering two weeks ago, trying to reassure him. Mr. Trump did not budge — but neither did Mr. Kemp.

Even with Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Kemp walking a careful line with the president, Mr. Trump has seemed to relish playing kingmaker after getting a taste of it in 2018. So this year, he jumped into other races that offered him little benefit in his own re-election fight next year, or in Congress.

In Kentucky and Louisiana, where the Republican nominees for governor lost this year, the races were decided by a number of local factors, including negative perceptions of the incumbent Republican in Kentucky, Matt Bevin, and the moderate style of the incumbent Democrat in Louisiana, John Bel Edwards.

Still, Mr. Trump made heavily promoted visits to the states and touted the candidates on Twitter, personalizing the races almost every time he talked about them.

A loss would be damaging, Mr. Trump told the crowd at a rally in Kentucky the night before the election. “You can’t let that happen to me!” he implored.

Some of Mr. Trump’s advisers say they see fund-raising benefits in the president’s traveling to those states, even with the losses. And they believe that even if he had stayed out of the races, political reporters would have described them as losses for Mr. Trump.

But senior Republicans acknowledge that Mr. Trump still doesn’t understand the nuances between the types of races run by governors, who have to tend to voters back home, and senators and representatives, who must survive in Washington and have a different political balancing act.

Former Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina, a Republican, said that Mr. Trump shared something in common with his predecessor, Barack Obama, in that neither one had significant coattails in off-year elections. The two men developed a “personal relationship” with voters who turned out only for their presidential elections and could not be cajoled into supporting other candidates, he said.

Some Trump advisers have questioned why his aides have not pushed back more forcefully against his desire to inject himself into contests in solid-red states like Kentucky and Louisiana where there is no electoral benefit to him in 2020.

“The curse of Donald Trump is that he can’t help himself, and he always makes it about him,” Mr. Sanford said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

“We’re Not Giving Up on You”: Watch as Georgia Police Talk Down a Suicidal Father

Westlake Legal Group Capture-8 “We’re Not Giving Up on You”: Watch as Georgia Police Talk Down a Suicidal Father suicide police Georgia Front Page Stories Featured Story depression bodycam Allow Media Exception

Depression is a serial murderer, and it can cause irrationality in otherwise sane minds, lying to them and leading them down a dark path that too often results in suicide.

No one sees this more often than your local police force, who are often called to scenes in order to talk someone down from doing something that would not only end their lives, but also destroy the lives around them.

In one heartbreaking yet uplifting video, a father in Georgia was prepared to kill himself. According to the New York Post, Henry County Police arrived at the scene to find an unidentified father of a little boy holding a knife to his stomach, ready to stab himself.

The officers spoke words of hope to him and showed him who he would be devastating if he took his own life:

“We’re not giving up on you… We’re not. We’re here and we want to help you,” one of the cops told him in July, as caught on recently released bodycam footage.

Another cop recognized the dad from a previous call — and persuaded him to look at photos of his one-year-old son, with the dad pushing over his phone to show the officers the photo.

“You want to see your one year old again? You have to drop the knife,” the cop told him. “Your son hasn’t given up on you. He needs you.”

His colleague then persuaded him to look hard at the photos, telling him, “I know how much you love your son — it’s not lost, man, it’s right there. Look. Please stop. Look at his face. He needs you.

“Don’t do this to him. This will affect him in ways you won’t even understand,” he said, telling him it was not too late for a “do-over” on life.

The sobbing man eventually dropped the knife, and as a precaution, officers rushed in to handcuff him. Even as they did, they explained that he wasn’t under arrest, they’re just doing that for everyone’s safety.

Moments like these are heartbreaking and are occurring far more frequently today then they did in years past. Luckily, there are members of law enforcement who are only too willing to help those on their worst day, and stop them from making a mistake that would only make things so much worse.

Police get a lot of bad press and a horrible reputation that goes along with it but very rarely do stories like these reach the headlines despite the fact that they happen every day.

 

The post “We’re Not Giving Up on You”: Watch as Georgia Police Talk Down a Suicidal Father appeared first on RedState.

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A Federal Judge Stops Georgia’s Stringent Abortion Law, and One Senator Must be Saying a Prayer of Thanks

Westlake Legal Group newborn-baby-infant-headgear-child-finger-hair-accessory-1429203-pxhere.com_-620x413 A Federal Judge Stops Georgia’s Stringent Abortion Law, and One Senator Must be Saying a Prayer of Thanks Uncategorized steve jones sean young Politics h.b. 481 Government Georgia Front Page Stories fetal heartbeat bill Featured Story democrats Culture brian kemp Allow Media Exception aclu Abortion

 

 

On Tuesday, a federal judge instated a block against Georgia’s fetal heartbeat bill.

The law was set for effect on January 1st, but U.S. District Judge Steve Jones put a temporary hold on it.

As reported by Atlanta’s WSB-TV, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state in June over the legislation.

Except in cases of rape or incest officially reported to police, H.B. 481 bans abortion once a heartbeat is detected.

ACLU of Georgia Legal Director Sean Young told the Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday’s decision was a triumph for women:

“Today is a tremendous victory for the women of Georgia and for the Constitution. Politicians have no business telling women or couples when to start or expand a family. This case has always been about one thing: letting her decide.”

A spokesperson for Brian Kemp, the Republican governor who signed the bill, said his administration is dedicated to its pro-life position:

“We are currently reviewing Judge Jones’ decision. Despite today’s outcome, we remain confident in our position. We will continue to fight for the unborn and work to ensure that all Georgians have the opportunity to live, grow, and prosper.”

Congressional Democratic Kirsten Gillibrand is surely relieved by the judge’s decision. For her, it’s a downright answer to prayer — in May, the senator told the world being pro-abortion was the duty of every Christian:

“If you are a person of the Christian faith, one of the tenets of our faith is free will. One of the tenets of our democracy is that we have a separation of church and state, and under no circumstances are we supposed to be imposing our faith on other people. And I think [the heartbeat law] is an example of that effort.”

As I pointed out at the time:

I’d like to take a moment and point out that, irrespective of any political issue, that statement made absolutely no logical sense.

In response to this latest judicial turn, Planned Parenthood East’s Barbara Ann Luttrell celebrated on behalf of folks nationwide:

“This is a victory for Georgia and people all across the country. We promise the people we serve and the people across the state to protect access to abortion, and together we have.”

Barbara was down and out just months ago amid a wave of pro-life legislation, lamenting, “We’ve never seen it this bad.”

She shouldn’t get too comfortable — the block is, of course, only temporary.

Nevertheless, Planned Parenthood Southeast CEO Staci Fox also championed the move, reminding America how abortion should be:

“To the countless Georgians who spoke out against this ban and were ignored, we promised to keep fighting every step of the way and we have. … To Governor Kemp, we promised to see you in court, and we did. But most importantly, to our patients, we promised to protect access to safe, legal abortion and together we have.”

“Safe and legal” — as recently as 2008, Hillary Clinton reiterated that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” Democrats seem to be drifting away from that last part.

-ALEX

 

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Liz Cheney to Pelosi: How Did You Get to See Full Ukraine Call Transcript Before White House Authorized Release?

Westlake Legal Group LizCheneyFaceTheNation-620x317 Liz Cheney to Pelosi: How Did You Get to See Full Ukraine Call Transcript Before White House Authorized Release? Wyoming washington D.C. Social Media republicans Politics North Carolina Nancy Pelosi Media Liz Cheney Impeachment of President Trump impeachment Georgia Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post Doug Collins donald trump democrats Culture Congress California Allow Media Exception 60 Minutes

There are some pretty fishy things going on with respect to the Ukraine call transcript, the whistleblower complaint itself, and the how Democrats are conducting the impeachment process – and GOP leaders are demanding answers.

This morning, I wrote about how Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, was on Fox News Monday raising questions about what House Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) knew about the whistleblower complaint and when he knew it. Here’s what he told Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade (bolded emphasis added):

Collins: “If you go back, actually the whistleblower complaint was on August 14th I believe. On August the 28th, go back and look at Adam Schiff who is now heading the ramrod investigation. He actually put a tweet out saying basically what the whistleblower complaint said. This is a month ahead of time. I’m beginning to wonder if there was not more communication here.

Collins also said there is a troubling reason why Pelosi has not called for a House vote on a formal impeachment inquiry:

And this is why I’ve said this week that the Speaker abused her power … she said we’re starting the impeachment inquiry and she gave it to her buddy Adam Schiff who has been dishonest with the American people from the get-go on Russia. And why that is important for everybody in this country to know is a [true] impeachment inquiry would actually afford due process, it would make sure both sides were heard. It would make sure the President and the minority have the rights that are not present in the hearings currently.

Kilmeade pointed out something else during the segment about how Pelosi made “a slip” in an interview she did with 60 Minutes on Sunday about when she read the Ukraine call transcript. Here’s what he said:

Kilmeade: “Nancy Pelosi on 60 Minutes last night was asked ‘Did the President call you?’ She said ‘yes, he called me.’ [This was] before she came out with the impeachment inquiry. [Trump said] ‘the letter was perfect. We’re gonna release the transcript, the call was perfect.’ And she said to him, ‘I knew what was in the letter.’ Then she paused and said ‘it was in the public domain.’ Number one, it was not in the public domain, and the transcript had not been released yet. How could she possibly know?”

Collins isn’t the only GOP leader in the House raising alarm bells about what Democrats knew and when they knew it.

Rep. Liz Cheney (WY), who is the GOP Conference Chair, tweeted out a clip of the Pelosi interview on Monday and stated “This is starting to seem like a political set up”:

Fred Fleitz, who has extensive experience working for various intelligence agencies including the CIA NSC, and DIA, speculated last week that the whistleblower might have had “outside help” writing the actual complaint itself – either from a member of Congress or staff:

I am very familiar with transcripts of presidential phone calls since I edited and processed dozens of them when I worked for the NSC. I also know a lot about intelligence whistleblowers from my time with the CIA.

My suspicions grew this morning when I saw the declassified whistleblowing complaint. It appears to be written by a law professor and includes legal references and detailed footnotes. It also has an unusual legalistic reference on how this complaint should be classified.

From my experience, such an extremely polished whistleblowing complaint is unheard of. This document looks as if this leaker had outside help, possibly from congressional members or staff.

He also wrote that it was “more than a coincidence” that a Schiff tweet from late August virtually mirrored the whistleblower complaint.

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see shades of the Russia collusion hoax playing out all over again. This whole thing stinks.

Related –>> Schiff’s Staffer Traveled To Ukraine, Trip Was Paid For By Group Funded By Hunter Biden’s Old Firm

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Liz Cheney to Pelosi: How Did You Get to See Full Ukraine Call Transcript Before White House Authorized Release? appeared first on RedState.

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Video: Rep. Doug Collins Lays Out Pelosi’s and Schiff’s Impeachment Smokescreen

Westlake Legal Group NancyPelosiAPimage-620x317 Video: Rep. Doug Collins Lays Out Pelosi’s and Schiff’s Impeachment Smokescreen washington D.C. republicans Politics North Carolina Nancy Pelosi Impeachment of President Trump impeachment House Judiciary Committee Georgia Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post Doug Collins donald trump democrats Culture Congress California Allow Media Exception adam schiff

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during her weekly media availability on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

When it comes to the actions of the Democratic House leadership on the latest round of impeachment fever, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) is not messing around.

Collins, who is the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, appeared on Fox and Friends Monday morning to talk about the impeachment process. Collins specifically raised questions about what House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) knew and when he knew it about the whistleblower complaint. He also pointed out how there was a very troubling reason why House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) declared an impeachment inquiry instead of having Congress formally vote on it.

Below is a partial transcript of the interview Collins did with host Brian Kilmeade:

Collins: “If you go back, actually the whistleblower complaint was on August 14th I believe. On August the 28th, go back and look at Adam Schiff who is now heading the ramrod investigation. He actually put a tweet out saying basicallywhat the whistleblower complaint said. This is a month ahead of time. I’m beginning to wonder if there was not more communication here.”

Kilmeade: “Nancy Pelosi on 60 Minutes last night was asked ‘Did the President call you?’ She said ‘yes, he called me.’ [This was] before she came out with the impeachment inquiry. [Trump said] ‘the letter was perfect. We’re gonna release the transcript, the call was perfect.’ And she said to him, ‘I knew what was in the letter.’ Then she paused and said ‘it was in the public domain.’ Number one, it was not in the public domain, and the transcript had not been released yet. How could she possibly know?”

Collins: (chuckles) “I don’t think she did. I think the problem here is when you keep telling another story, it’s hard to remember what you’ve told and not told, or what you’re trying to keep.

And this is why I’ve said this week that the Speaker abused her power … she said we’re starting the impeachment inquiry and she gave it to her buddy Adam Schiff who has been dishonest with the American people from the get-go on Russia. And why that is important for everybody in this country to know is a [true] impeachment inquiry would actually afford due process, it would make sure both sides were heard. It would make sure the President and the minority have the rights that are not present in the hearings currently.

This is not America when you can simply ramrod one side of a hearing in without allowing the person who’s being accused or even the minority to have more rights.

If it were a true inquiry, she’d put it on the floor, make her members vote for it so in the end we would actually have a process that happened under Clinton and happened under Nixon.”

When Kilmeade asked Collins about Pelosi’s remarks this week about Americans needing to be “prayerful” about the process, here’s how Collins responded:

“It doesn’t appear to be [sincere] when you see the actions,” Collins said. “Don’t follow the words. Follow the actions. If this was so somber, if this was so serious, then she would do [what] has been done in the past and have a very straightforward process in which every side is represented.”
[…]
Collins said if Pelosi and congressional Democrats truly had the courage of their convictions, they would put the issue to a vote on the House floor and allow the republic to function as it was intended.

“If it was a true inquiry, she would put it on the floor — she’d make her members vote for it so, in the end, we would actually have a process that happened under [Bill] Clinton and happened under [Richard] Nixon, where both sides are represented,” he said. “This is just not fair. The American people will see through this.”

Watch Collins lay the smack down on this sham process below:

What Pelosi, Schiff, and Nadler are trying to do should be very concerning to everybody. The House is on a two week break now but key committee members are still in DC issuing subpoenas and moving the impeachment process along without input from Republicans.

GOP House members should use the two weeks they have in their districts to amplify what Collins and other GOP leaders are saying about what’s happening. The American people deserve to know.

——
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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Woman’s Boyfriend Shoots Her in the Head, but She Forgets for Almost Two Months so They Keep Dating

Westlake Legal Group jerrontae-cain-mugshot-SCREENSHOT-620x326 Woman’s Boyfriend Shoots Her in the Head, but She Forgets for Almost Two Months so They Keep Dating Uncategorized romance relationships Not Today Internet nicole gordon jerrontae cain Guns Georgia Front Page Stories Culture crime attempted murder ATLANTA Allow Media Exception

[Screenshot from Twitter, https://twitter.com/whnt/status/1177696919713456129?]

 

“Not tonight, dear, I have a headache.”

So goes the ol’ lame excuse.

But Nicole Gordon of Atlanta really had a solid reason for sittin’ out an amorous episode or two: The potential sexy-time needs of her boyfriend, Jerrontae Cain, notwithstanding, she really did have a sizable noggin throb.

And not only that, but there was an even more substantial reason the 42-year-old may wanna take a raincheck on the come-hithers for a Carnal Cruise to Pleasureland from her boarding beau: Jerrontae had shot her in the head.

Normally, a bullet to the cerebellum might cause a relationship to downright fall apart, but heck — it’s like Sharon said to Susan in The Parent Trap:

“That’s how true love creates its beautiful agony — all splendid lovers had just dreadful times! Pelias and Melisande, Daphnis and Chloë. History’s just jammed with stories of lovers parted by some silly thing!”

How deep is your love? Nicole and Jerrontae’s is — at the very least — skull deep.

So they sojourned on for nearly a couple months — when it’s true love, ya just gotta give it a shot.

But eventually, a family member encouraged Nic to hoof it to the hospital over her terrible pounding above the neck.

And doctors were shocked by what they found: There was a lead slug embedded at the base of her skull.

Nicole was just as surprised: Apparently, the trauma of the headshot had caused her to lose her memory. She had no idea her main squeeze had squeezed — not another woman, but a trigger.

She told doctors she recalled arguing with Jerrontae in their car while she was driving, and that the driver’s side window had shattered and fallen on her, knocking her unconscious. Also: The car had crashed into a tree.

I can’t imagine Jerrontae’s surprise when she woke up and was all, “My head hurts. But you wanna get some waffles?”

Actually, it didn’t happen quite that way, but close enough: They went to his mom’s house and treated a cut to the back of her head, which she thought was from the glass.

On the other side of an issued warrant, Jerrontae Cain, 39, was taken into custody after being found hiding in an attic.

This January.

Nicole was shot in 2017.

Jerrontae took it like a pro — he’d been arrested 13 times before.

At trial, surely all mouths hung agape as Nicole’s friends testified her ex had physically abused her in the past.

As reported by The Daily Mail, doctors have declined to remove the bullet in Nicole’s head, for fear the procedure would kill her.

True love makes a heart skip a beat; Nicole’s almost made hers skip the rest, too.

Cupid shoots an arrow; Jerrontae got a bit more modern.

But in the end, Nicole found freedom and her firearmin’ former flame got fitted for a jailbird jumpsuit. He’ll be wearing it for 25 years.

Given that turnabout’s fair play, the previously-passion-fueled pistoleer had better watch out — they have love guns in prison, too. But I don’t think they go for the back of the head. Their aim’s a little…lower.

And as Jerrontae taught Nicole — and as the 1976 superhit says — “Love hurts.”

-ALEX

 

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Hmmm: Tom Price bids for Senate appointment

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Who should get the appointment to replace retiring Senator Johnny Isakson, who has to leave for health reasons in December? A familiar face has tossed his hat into the ring for Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s consideration — Tom Price. The former Republican Study Group chair turned HHS secretary has confirmed his interest in the interim appointment, but Kemp might have to worry about Price’s baggage in an election:

Price, a former six-term Republican congressman, was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as HHS secretary at the outset of his administration. He resigned from the cabinet in September 2017 after reporting from POLITICO about his use of private and government planes for travel.

Price held a suburban Atlanta seat in Congress, and his resignation to join the cabinet set off a special election that ultimately became the most expensive House race in history. Republicans narrowly held the seat in June 2017, but now-Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath flipped the seat last November.

Price joins several other high-profile Republicans to apply for the appointment, including Rep. Doug Collins and former Rep. Paul Broun. There’s a wide range of other potential candidates for Kemp’s pending appointment, and the biggest names include Rep. Tom Graves, state Attorney General Chris Carr and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

As a practicing physician, Price had built up a considerable reputation as a policy leader in health care and more broadly on conservative principles while in the House. He chaired the influential Republican Study Group for a few years before taking his dream job at HHS. That ended in disaster, as Politico briefly mentions, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution offers a little more detail:

The Roswell orthopedic surgeon resigned from his Cabinet post in September 2017 after racking up at least $1 million in travel on private and military jets, a string of taxpayer-funded expenses that drew bipartisan condemnation and infuriated President Donald Trump.

That gig had been a dream job for Price, a third generation doctor who built his political career around health care policy. It lasted less than eight months, and it was rocky long before the expense scandal as he struggled to sell Trump’s core campaign pledge to scrap the Affordable Care Act.

If Price got the nod, he’d have three years before having to defend the seat in an election. By then, those issues might fade into the background, but Democrats would be certain to revive them at that time. That could be a problem in a state that’s clearly transitioning from red to kinda-sorta purple, where Kemp himself barely made it across the finish line.

The AJC wonders whether the Trump factor might play a role with this choice:

The Trump factor looms large with this one. The president likely won’t dictate who Kemp will pick, but he’ll have influence over the decision – especially given that one of his tweets could sink an appointee’s chances by emboldening a GOP opponent.

That strained relationship between Price and Trump looms large, particularly since the president is close with other potential contenders – most notably Collins, whom he retweeted just this week.

That might depend on just how well Trump plays in Georgia, too. He beat Hillary Clinton in the state, but only by five points and getting just 51% of the state. Mitt Romney got 53% of the vote in 2012. It might be best for Kemp not to go out of his way to antagonize Trump, but it’s not clear that appointing Price would do that. Kemp might need to worry more about Price’s baggage than Trump’s blessing in this case.

Price was and is a sharp thinker and a clearly intellectual conservative. If based on nothing more than his House track record, Price would make a fine choice for an interim appointment to the Senate. Given the rest of Price’s recent history, though, one has to think that Kemp might be looking more for safety than ideological purity.

The post Hmmm: Tom Price bids for Senate appointment appeared first on Hot Air.

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