Chicken Fried Politics

LATEST COVERAGE

POLITICAL NEWCOMER GLENN YOUNGKIN WINS VIRGINIA GOP’S NOMINATION FOR GOVERNOR

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Glenn Youngkin

Youngkin, a wealthy outsider making his first run for political office, defeated six rivals to win the nomination, setting up what will likely be a high-spending and highly contested fall match-up with Democratic former governor Terry McAuliffe. Youngkin secured a majority after six rounds of counting ranked-choice votes cast by delegates during Saturday’s statewide drive-thru convention, capturing 55% of the weighted delegate vote to defeat his last remaining rival, Pete Snyder, a venture capitalist who was the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor in 2013. State Senator Amanda Chase from Chesterfield County — who describes herself as “Trump in heels” and has been threatening to bolt the party to run as an independent — finished third. (Posted May 11)

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HERE HE GOES AGAIN: CHARLIE CRIST LEAVING CONGRESS TO RUN FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR

Charlie Crist announces run

He’s run for 10 times for six different offices over the past three decades and has been, at various times, a Republican, an independent and a Democrat. And now Florida U.S. Rep. harlie Crist is giving up his relatively safe seat in Congress to once again seek the state’s top office as a Democrat that he once held as a Republican. Crist announced Tuesday that he would forgo re-election to his 13th District seat in order to challenge Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in 2022. But he may face a battle for the Democratic nomination with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is expected to run, and U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who is considering her own bid. (Posted May 4)

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ALL-REPUBLICAN RUNOFF SET BETWEEN WRIGHT AND ELLZEY FOR VACANT TEXAS U.S. HOUSE SEAT

Wright and Ellzey

Susan Wright, the widow of the late Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, claimed first place Saturday in a special election to fill his Texas’s 6th U.S. House District seat and will now face fellow Republican State Rep. Jake Ellzey in a runoff. Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez finished just 354 votes behind Ellzey, narrowly missing a chance to set up her party to flip a suburban district in metro Dallas-Fort Worth that Donald Trump carried by just 3 points in November. Michael Wood — a businessman and former Marine Corps officer who ran openly in the race as an anti-Trump Republican and charged that the GOP has devolved into a “cult of personality” — finished ninth in the 23-person field, showing the limits of that strategy in pro-Trump Texas. (Posted May 2)

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SOUTH CAROLINA U.S. SENATOR TIM SCOTT GIVES GOP RESPONSE TO JOE BIDEN’S ADDRESS

FORMER DEMOCRATIC U.S. REP. JOE CUNNINGHAM RUNNING FOR SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR

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Joe Cunningham

Cunningham officially launched his 2022 campaign for governor on April 26 with a broadside against the Republican establishment that has reigned supreme in Columbia for two decades and incumbent Republican Governor Henry McMaster, saying that “the challenges that we face are not because of our people. They’re because of our politicians.” Cunningham, 38, a Charleston lawyer, shocked the political world in 2018 with his win in the state’s 1st District, part of a Democratic wave that swept the party to House control. However, he could not hold the seat in 2020, losing to Republican Nancy Mace despite raising and spending more than $7 million during the race. (Posted April 26)

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TEXAS, NORTH CAROLINA, FLORIDA TO GAIN U.S. HOUSE SEATS; WEST VIRGINIA WILL LOSE SEAT

WashingtonThe U.S. Census Bureau released population totals for reapportionment of U.S. House seats Monday that will alter the size of delegations in four Southern states. Fast-growing Texas will be the biggest winner, gaining two seats to take its delegation to 38 members. Florida will get one new seat to go to 28, and North Carolina will gain one seat to go to 14. However, West Virginia will lose one of its three seats, which could force Republican incumbents to run against each other in newly configured, larger districts. Alabama dodged a bullet, keeping all of its seven seats; Georgia did not gain a seat for the first time in 40 years. (Posted April 26)

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FORMER GEORGIA GOP U.S. REP. DOUG COLLINS WILL NOT SEEK STATEWIDE OFFICE IN 2022

GAcollins_main_decision 2020

Doug Collins

In an announcement on Twitter, Collins said he would not run against Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock or launch a primary challenge to Governor Brian Kemp. Collins, 54, from Gainesville, was elected to represent Georgia’s 9th U.S. House District in 2012 but gave up the seat to run in a special election for a vacant U.S. Senate seat in 2020. He finished third in an all-party contest, which Warnock won in a runoff. After the 2020 election, Donald Trump, unhappy that Kemp wasn’t doing more to help him overturn his election loss in Georgia, had publicly urged Collins to challenge Kemp in this year’s GOP primary. (Posted April 26)

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LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATOR TROY CARTER WINS U.S. HOUSE RUNOFF

Troy Carter

The Democratic establishment has claimed another victory in its ongoing battle with progressive insurgents, with Carter winning an intra-party runoff Saturday to claim the 2nd U.S. House District seat. Carter won 55 percent of the vote to 45 percent for State Senator Karen Carter-Peterson. He  will replace Cedric Richmond, who resigned to take a job as the White House public engagement director in the Biden administration. The majority black 2nd District includes most of New Orleans and part of Baton Rouge, along with the River Parishes between the two cities. His win will expand the narrow Democratic majority in the House from two to three seats, with three Democratic-leaning seats also vacant in Florida, New Mexico and Ohio. (Posted April 25)

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AMTRAK PLANS TO USE BIDEN INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING TO EXPAND SOUTHERN RAIL SERVICE

New Amtrak routes shown in light blue

As the Biden administration tries to cobble together political support for its massive $2.5 trillion infrastructure program, Amtrak has announced that it plans to use its share of the money to expand its national rail network, including significant additions across the South. In a plan unveiled April 1, Amtrak said it would add service to 12 Southern cities, as well as enhancing existing service in Texas, Florida and the corridor between Birmingham, Atlanta and Charlotte. Kentucky — the only state east of the Mississippi River currently without any Amtrak service — will finally be connected to the national network with a rail link between Louisville and Indianapolis. (Posted April 2)

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WATERGAETZ? FLORIDA U.S. REP. MATT GAETZ SUBJECT OF SEX TRAFFICKING INVESTIGATION

Matt Gaetz

In what is quickly becoming one of the year’s most bizarre political stories, Gaetz, a Florida Republican and stanch supporter of former President Donald Trump, is denying allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl but acknowledges he is under federal investigation for possible sex trafficking charges, as first reported by The New York Times. As headlines began to trumpet news of the investigation, Gaetz struck back by accusing a Florida attorney of trying to use the allegations to extort $25 million from his family, a charge that the attorney denies. (Posted March 31)

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