Why an accused Trump co-conspirator could get suspended from the Georgia Senate

Republican state Sen. Shawn Still, a fake elector who was indicted last week alongside Donald Trump for his alleged role in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, could get suspended from the Senate as a result of his legal woes, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David Wickert.

Under the state constitution, a three-person panel to be convened by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp must decide whether Still's indictment both "relates to and adversely affects the administration" of his office and “that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected thereby." If the panel concludes the answer to both questions is yes, then Still would be suspended until "the final disposition of the case" or his term expires, whichever happens first.

It's unclear when the matter will be resolved, though legal experts believe the case is unlikely to go to trial in March, as requested by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. As a result, Still could find himself contemplating whether to seek reelection next year while he's under suspension. Undoubtedly, party leaders would prefer he not do so, particularly because his district in the Atlanta suburbs is vulnerable despite extensive GOP gerrymandering.

Incidentally, Still can thank former state Labor Commissioner Sam Caldwell for his latest predicament. In 1983, Caldwell was indicted by Fulton County prosecutors on a variety of charges, including allegations that he'd defrauded the state by demanding his employees perform extensive repairs on boats he owned. He resisted calls to resign and was only removed from office under threat of impeachment following his conviction the next year.

To avoid a similar spectacle in the future, Georgia lawmakers placed an amendment on the ballot in 1984 that would allow for the suspension of indicted public officials. It passed with 93% support. Shortly thereafter, Caldwell was also found guilty in federal court of deliberately sinking his yacht in order to collect insurance proceeds. Ironically, Caldwell's earlier conviction in state court centered around RICO charges—the very same statute Fulton County's current district attorney, Fani Willis, is relying on to prosecute Trump, Still, and their alleged co-conspirators.

Trump tried to steal Pennsylvania. Here’s how we stop him from succeeding next time

Next year's battle for the White House will once again come down to just a handful of states, and one of those states will be Pennsylvania.

And if Donald Trump is the GOP nominee once more, there's every reason to think he'll try to steal Pennsylvania's electoral votes, just like he sought to do in 2020—and was just indicted for.

Three years ago, our sturdiest backstop was the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which conclusively shut down Trump's many bogus lawsuits that sought to overturn the election. We need to make sure the state's highest court stands ready to safeguard democracy yet again, which is why Daily Kos is proudly endorsing Judge Dan McCaffery in the Nov. 7 race to fill a critical vacant seat.

Democracy is on the line once again. You can help protect it by donating $5, $10, or whatever feels right to Democrat Dan McCaffery in Pennsylvania!

McCaffery is an unimpeachable jurist who has sat on the bench for a decade, winning election as an appeals court judge in 2019. He's the son of immigrants who fled violence in their native Ireland, an Army veteran, a West Point graduate, and a former prosecutor. He has the support of Planned Parenthood, labor unions across the state, and the state Democratic Party. And he earned the highest possible rating from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. In short, he's a fair-minded, independent judge who can be trusted to do the right thing.

Not so his Republican opponent. Judge Carolyn Carluccio not only holds extreme anti-abortion views, she's tried to conceal them by stripping references to her promise to be a "Defender" of "All Life Under the Law" from her campaign website. Even more troubling, she suggested without any evidence that mail voting could lead to fraud and even refused to answer directly when the Philadelphia Inquirer asked if she thought the 2022 and 2022 elections were "free and fair." That sounds like exactly the sort of judge Trump would want to have in his corner.

It goes without saying that the stakes in 2024 are as high as they come, which makes this fall's contest an extremely high-stakes affair as well. Right now, Democrats hold a 4-2 majority on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, meaning that if Republicans flip this seat (which became vacant after Democrat Max Baer died last year), they'll shrink that edge to 4-3. That's way too close for comfort, especially if there's ever an absence, a recusal, or another vacancy.

And it wasn't too long ago that Republicans controlled the court—it was only in 2015 that Democrats were able to take it back. Republicans have never accepted the legitimacy of that new Democratic majority and even threatened to impeach Democratic justices after they struck down the GOP's gerrymandered maps a few years ago, so we know they're going to fight like hell to regain power.

In Wisconsin, we just saw how low conservatives will stoop to win a state Supreme Court seat—they even literally ran a shot-for-shot remake of the infamous Willie Horton ad. Pennsylvania Republicans will fight just as dirty.

That's why we need to do everything we can to help McCaffery win in November. The best antidote to corporate dark money is grassroots people power, and Daily Kos excels at delivering that.

Donate $20—or whatever you can—right now to elect Dan McCaffery to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court!

Wisconsin Republicans are hot to start impeaching Democrats. Here’s how we blow up those plans

Power-drunk Wisconsin Republicans, relying on maps they rigged themselves, just secured another ill-gotten weapon in the November midterms—the ability to impeach and remove government officials without a single Democratic vote. And they intend to use it: Right after the election, the Republican speaker of the state Assembly warned that his party’s new two-thirds supermajority in the Senate means the GOP “can take out people who aren't doing their job,” adding that it’s “a new power that we did not have a week ago.”

The good news is, we can take it right back. A longtime Republican senator recently resigned from the legislature, prompting a special election in a challenging but winnable district in the Milwaukee suburbs. If Democrats can win that race on April 4, then poof—the GOP’s Senate supermajority vanishes, and with it, the threat to oust Democrats like Gov. Tony Evers simply for being Democrats.

That’s why Daily Kos is endorsing attorney Jodi Habush Sinykin in this critical race.

Can you donate $10 or even $20 now to help Democrats flip a key seat in Wisconsin and nuke the GOP’s impeachment menace?

Habush Sinykin is exactly the sort of progressive we need. She’s an environmental lawyer with deep roots in her community who helped enact the historic Great Lakes Compact to safeguard at-risk waters and worked to pass legislation to regulate cruel puppy mills. She will fight to lower healthcare costs, invest in education, and above all, protect abortion rights. Believe it or not, abortion is now illegal in Wisconsin thanks to a ban that dates all the way back to 1849—a time when slavery was still lawful in this country. Habush Sinykin will be both a voice and a vote against that ban.

Fortunately, Habush Sinykin has the field to herself, since she’s the only Democrat in the race. Republicans, however, have three candidates running, each worse than the last, and they are in for a messy, messy primary on Feb. 21.

There’s state Rep. Dan Knodl, who signed a letter to Mike Pence asking him not to certify the results of Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021. Then there’s Van Mobley, president of the small village of Thiensville, who was the first elected official in the state to back Donald Trump and called efforts to halt the spread of COVID a “lie.” But the most special is state Rep. Janel Brandtjen, a certifiable election conspiracy theorist who wanted fellow lawmakers to “recall” the state’s 10 Biden electors, has earned the endorsement of the top anti-abortion group in the state, and is so toxic that her fellow Republicans banned her from attending caucus meetings!

But whichever Republican emerges from this dogpile will still have a built-in advantage, because the GOP gerrymandered the 8th District to insulate itself from voters: While the previous version of this seat was almost evenly divided between support for Biden and Trump, the redrawn district would have backed Trump by a 52-47 margin. But Republicans are in a race against time, because this well-educated, affluent area has moved sharply away from the GOP during the Trump era and continues to do so. That alone gives us a fighting chance.

But Republicans know the stakes just as well as we do. They don’t want to relinquish their supermajority status because they want to be able to terrorize Democrats who might dare cross them. And while they fell just short in 2022, two years from now, they’ll try once more to seize a two-thirds majority in the Assembly, too, which would allow them to override any vetoes by Evers.

We can smash a hole in all of those plans by winning this special election in April, but Wisconsin Democrats need our help right away, because there’s going to be a torrent of dark money flooding into this race just as quickly as you can say “Koch brothers.”

Please send $10 or $20 to Jodi Habush Sinykin right now so that she can flip a key seat in the Wisconsin state Senate and erase the GOP’s ill-gotten supermajority!

The Republican House majority is the most fragile they’ve had in a very long time

Republicans may soon find out that the only thing worse than losing the House is winning it. That’s because the foundation on which the GOP’s new majority rests is as shaky as they come—and that’s no mere opinion. It’s an unassailable fact, borne out by hard data.

The 222 seats Republicans will control in the coming Congress is the same number that Democrats held in the outgoing one. But not only do Republicans lack anyone remotely resembling Nancy Pelosi—one of the most accomplished legislative leaders in American history—a critical portion of their caucus represents districts that Joe Biden would have carried.

This batch of 18 “crossover” seats (so called because they voted for different parties for president and the House) is small by historical standards but looms very large indeed when set against the miniscule five-seat advantage Republicans enjoy in the chamber. How Pelosi accomplished so much with so little will be studied by a generation of scholars, but one key factor was doubtless the fact that only seven of her members sat in districts Donald Trump had won following the 2020 elections. (There will still be five Democrats in Trump seats come 2023.)

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And it’s not just the quantity of crossover seats but their quality, as well. We can rank-order every district by its presidential vote (a more useful metric than the results of House elections, which can be affected by varying candidate quality, competitiveness, and uncontested seats) to see which seat gave Pelosi that crucial 218th vote. It turns out to have been the previous version of Michigan’s 8th District around Lansing, which backed Trump by less than a single point and is represented by a reliable Democrat, Elissa Slotkin.

Needless to say, Kevin McCarthy—or any Republican who might have the misfortune to take his place—won’t have anything resembling that good fortune.

Quite the contrary: The seat tipping the GOP over the edge will be upstate New York’s redrawn 17th District, which would’ve gone for Biden by a vastly larger 10-point spread. And Republican Mike Lawler (who beat DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney) is already concerned with his immediate political survival—which means, in a blue district like this one, distancing himself from the Marjorie Taylor Greene lunatic brigade.

In 2016, Lawler served as a Trump delegate at the Republican convention, but just days after the midterms, Lawler told CNN that he’d “like to see the party move forward” from the GOP’s overlord and expressed a lack of interest in pursuing the witch-hunts and impeachments his far-right colleagues are frothing for. “I think the top priority is to deal with inflation and the cost of living,” he said. “I don’t want to go from one issue to the next without dealing with the issues that got me elected in the first place.”

It will be quite something to watch when the Greenes and Boeberts and assorted other miscreants grow enraged at the likes of Lawler, but he’ll by no means be the only House Republican prioritizing self-preservation over party unity. And what makes the case of Lawler and his fellow travelers so destabilizing is that their districts are much further to the left than those of similarity situated majority-makers in any recent Congress where Republicans have been in control.

We can say this with certainty. At Daily Kos Elections, we have a deep archive of robust data going back many years, allowing us to analyze the political lean of the 218th seat over time. Below we list the tipping-point districts for every Congress dating back to 2008, along with the results of the most recent presidential election in all of them:

During the last period of Republican control following the 2010 elections, you can see that these districts have generally been clustered right around dead even according to presidential margin: Trump +0.1 in 2016, Mitt Romney +1.1 in 2014, and Barack Obama +0.1 in 2012. 2010 might look like something of an outlier, but don’t forget that Obama won the national popular vote by 7 points. Compared to the nation as a whole, then, that version of Iowa’s 4th was only a touch bluer, as you can see in the column on the far right of the table above; in subsequent years, the GOP’s 218th seat was actually to the right of the country overall.

(By the by, Democrats now hold the current versions of Virginia’s 10th and Minnesota’s 2nd. They also won the successor to Iowa’s 4th in 2018 but lost it by less than a percentage point this year.)

To put Lawler’s district in the same context, it’s almost 6 points left of center. That makes it much more liberal than any pivot-point seat Boehner ever had to contend with, and Lawler knows it. That also goes for all the other Republicans in similar districts—or at least, if they don’t grasp this reality now, they will after they’ve lost re-election in 2024.

Pelosi, by contrast, has regularly handled similar situations and even tougher ones: After the 2008 elections, with the majority-making seat 10 points to the nation’s right, Democrats nevertheless managed to pass a massive stimulus package, a major Wall Street reform bill, and, of course, Obamacare. Republicans don’t even have a legislative agenda, let alone the ability to pass anything so far-reaching.

And this, of course, assumes that McCarthy or another Republican can even put together enough votes to win the speakership in the first place, which is far from assured. But even if he manages to, he’ll find that his authority rests on an exceptionally rickety base—one that both the pragmatists and the crazies will have no hesitation blowing up.

Raphael Warnock needs all the support he can get to help our Democratic majority in the Senate. Chip in $5 today to his runoff campaign.

New York’s Conservative Party threatens to spurn GOP congressman who voted to impeach Trump

The Conservative Party in Onondaga County, which makes up most of New York's 24th Congressional District, says it won't endorse Republican Rep. John Katko next year, putting the congressman at risk of losing a ballot line that's played a key role in sustaining his political career. Katko had previously lost the support of Conservatives in the other three counties in the district—Oswego, Cayuga, and Wayne—though the ultimate decision will fall to state party chair Jerry Kassar, who previously said Katko is "in trouble" and reportedly plans to defer to local leaders.

Katko has received a great deal of attention—and, from Donald Trump loyalists, scorn—for his vote to impeach Trump in January, but that's not the only issue putting him at odds with the Conservative Party. Die-hards are also pissed that he backed the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ rights, and that voted to boot Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments due to her violent rhetoric. However, Katko also voted for the Equality Act in 2019 and still retained the Conservative Party's support the next year, so there may be time to repair the relationship.

Katko will certainly hope so: In 2018, he defeated Democrat Dana Balter by 13,694 votes—fewer than the 16,972 he received on the Conservative line. While his victory wasn't dependent on that line in his 2020 rematch with Balter, Katko might not be so lucky next year, especially if Democrats target him in redistricting.

Onondoga Conservatives say they'll ask Kassar to either leave the party's line blank or endorse someone else in 2022. The latter option could prove particularly self-defeating, but it's a tack not unfamiliar to right-wing extremists in New York: Republicans lost a special election in 2009 in what was then the 23rd Congressional District after the GOP and the Conservative Party nominated different candidates, allowing Democrat Bill Owens to flip a seat that had been red since the 19th century.

‘His face was in your windshield’: GOP attorney general faces impeachment after deadly car crash

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the South Dakota legislature have advanced articles of impeachment against Republican Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg after he was charged with three misdemeanors following a deadly car crash in which he struck and killed a man walking on the side of a highway last September.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has also called on Ravnsborg to resign and amped up the pressure on Tuesday by releasing two videos of interviews law enforcement officials conducted with him. In one, an investigator questioned Ravnsborg's claim that he was unaware he'd hit a person—he said he thought he'd run into a deer—by noting that the state Highway Patrol had found the victim's glasses inside Ravnsborg's vehicle. "His face was in your windshield, Jason. Think about that," said one detective.

A spokesperson for Ravnsborg has said the attorney general will not resign. A simple majority in the state House would be necessary to impeach him, and a two-thirds of the state Senate would have to vote to convict him in order to remove him from office. In the event of a vacancy, Noem would name a replacement.

Republicans won’t hold members of their own party accountable, so we have to

Senate Republicans have now acquitted Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial.

Thanks to the Senate's six-year terms, many of the Republicans who set aside their oaths to protect the Constitution in favor of protecting their lord and master, Donald Trump, won't be on the ballot next year. But quite a few of them will be, and several hold very vulnerable seats. They must face a reckoning for their party's failure to hold a dangerous renegade president accountable.

So where do we start? With the 2020 election barely in the rearview, we don’t yet know who our nominees will be in next year’s Senate races, but the good news is, we don't need to wait. ActBlue's Democratic nominee funds allow us to start fundraising for 2022 Democrats right now, and that's exactly what we're going to do.

Republicans won't hold members of their own party accountable, so we have to. Chip in $1 right now to each of these six Senate Democratic nominee funds to flip Republican Senate seats from red to blue in 2022.

These nominee funds will hold all donations in escrow until Democratic primary voters in each state pick candidates for Senate. Then, all the collected contributions will be transferred to the Democratic nominee in one fell swoop as soon as they win their primary. This will give our candidates a huge cash infusion at a time when they'll need it most and set them up to take back Republican seats and expand our Senate majority in 2022.

Daily Kos used these nominee funds to great effect in the past. We raised millions of dollars in 2017 and 2018 for Democratic House nominee funds in dozens of districts that ultimately flipped from red to blue—and made Nancy Pelosi Speaker. We can do something very similar now.

The 2022 Senate map looks good for the Blue Team on paper. Democrats are defending just 14 seats to the Republicans' 20, and four Republican incumbents have already announced their retirement. Three of those four departures are in competitive states—North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—and more GOP senators may yet announce their retirements in other swing states. However, in a midterm election with an incumbent Democratic president, we can take nothing for granted or we could end up with another 2010- or 2014-style wipeout.

Senate Republicans acquitted Donald Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors twice. So make them pay: Donate $1 right now to each of the Democratic nominee funds targeting vulnerable Senate Republicans in 2022.

Furious Trumpists are already lining up to primary Republicans who voted for impeachment

Following the House's recent move to impeach Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection, the 10 Republicans who voted in favor of holding Trump accountable for his actions are now almost all facing intense intra-party anger—including, in many cases, talk of potential primary challenges. Here's the latest on each:

CA-21: Republican leaders in Fresno County are enraged with Rep. David Valadao, with the local party's chair saying his organization wouldn't support the congressman "if the election were held today." But Valadao is at least somewhat insulated thanks to California's top-two primary system, which makes it exceedingly hard for partisans to oust incumbents in a primary since they'd have to finish third to miss out on the November general election—something that's never happened in a congressional race.

IL-16: Politico reports that Gene Koprowski, a former official with a conservative think tank called the Heartland Institute, "is already running" against Rep. Adam Kinzinger, but he doesn't appear to have done anything more than file paperwork with the FEC. Koprowski appears to have no social media presence, and if he did launch a campaign, he managed to earn zero attention from local press. He did, however, gain some notice in 2018 when HuffPost reported that he'd been charged with stalking a female colleague, and that senior Heartland officials sought to protect him.

MI-03: Army National Guard veteran Tom Norton, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nod in Michigan's 3rd District last year when it was an open seat last year, is running against Rep. Peter Meijer once again. Norton raised very little and finished a distant third with just 16% of the vote. His Twitter feed is filled with remarks like, "If there is no such thing as gender, how can @KamalaHarris be a historic female?" and "If your gay go be gay that is your right. But when you remove a body part your not a woman your still a man.  We are normalizing crazy."

MI-06: There hasn't been any reporting yet about backlash directed at veteran Rep. Fred Upton, but that doesn't mean there isn't any. Upton, a relative pragmatist in today's GOP, has often been targeted in primaries for his previous apostasies, and last year, he turned in a relatively soft 63-37 win over businesswoman Elena Oelke, who appears to have raised no money at all.

NY-24: Local Republican and Conservative Party officials are quite pissed at Rep. John Katko, though there's been no real talk of a primary challenge yet. However, Katko was already on thin ice with the Conservative Party, whom he infuriated last cycle when he cosponsored a bill that condemned Trump's ban on transgender Americans serving in the armed forces. Some (but not all) of the damage was later repaired, but loss of Conservative support could prove very dangerous: In 2018, Katko defeated Democrat Dana Balter by 13,694 votes while earning 16,972 votes on the Conservative Party line. New York's 24th is one of just two districts Joe Biden won on this list (along with California's 21st), so defections on Katko’s right flank could cause him serious trouble in the general election as much as in a primary.

OH-16: Former state Rep. Christina Hagan, who sought Ohio's 16th District once before, "is not ruling out" a challenge to Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, says Politico. Hagan lost to Gonzalez 53-41 in the GOP primary in 2018, when the 16th had become open, then ran unsuccessfully in the neighboring 13th District last year, falling 52-45 to Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan.

SC-07: We've previously written about two Republicans who are considering challenges to Rep. Tom Rice, but now a third is threatening to enter the fray. Former NYPD officer John Cummings, who raised $11 million in a futile bid against AOC last year, is reportedly thinking about taking his grift show down South for a potential primary bid. Rice may be the most vulnerable Republican on this list because South Carolina, alone among these nine states, requires runoffs if no candidate secures a majority, meaning Rice can't pin his hopes of survival on winning renomination with a mere plurality.

WA-03, WA-04: Republican leaders in Washington's 3rd and 4th Districts are hopping mad and say they expect both Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse to face primary challenges, though no names have emerged yet. However, like Valadao, both enjoy a measure of protection thanks to Washington's top-two primary system, which works just like California's.

WY-AL: Politico reports that Air Force veteran Bryan Miller is "expected" to run against Rep. Liz Cheney, though in a brief quote, he doesn't say anything about his plans. If he does enter, however, that might paradoxically be good news for Cheney, since she already landed one credible opponent, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, just the other day. Unlike Tom Rice in South Carolina, Cheney could escape with a plurality because Wyoming has no runoffs.

Who’s to blame for the firing of impeachment hero Alex Vindman? Every senator who acquitted Trump

On Friday, Donald Trump dismissed Lt. Col. Alex Vindman from the National Security Council, months before his tenure was set to expire. Trump sacked Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient and the White House’s top expert on Ukraine, for his courageous testimony during impeachment proceedings in November, when he told Congress he’d reported his concerns about Trump’s now-notorious July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

But who’s truly to blame for this naked act of thuggish retaliation? All 52 Republican senators who voted to acquit Trump for his abuses of power and desperate attempts to cover them up. Most especially, that includes the vulnerable Republicans who are up for re-election this November:

Susan Collins in Maine Joni Ernst in Iowa Cory Gardner in Colorado Kelly Loeffler in Georgia Martha McSally in Arizona David Perdue in Georgia Thom Tillis in North Carolina

Collins is particularly egregious: On Friday morning, before the Vindman news broke, she told reporters, “I obviously am not in favor of any kind of retribution against anyone who came forward with evidence.” What’s transpired since was not only predictable, it had in fact been predicted. Collins and her brethren knew what would happen as a consequence of vindicating Trump. They simply didn’t care.

We, however, do. Every time Trump does something awful from this day forward, we know whom to hold responsible. And we can ensure that his enablers go down to defeat this fall.

Please donate $1 to unseat each of the Republicans who acquitted the most corrupt president in American history.

Republicans have hell to pay for torching our republic. Make. Them. Pay. NOW

It is darkness in the daytime, and the only light is cast by the bonfire of despotism into which the Republican Party is pitching our Constitution.

Donald Trump has transgressed two of the oldest and gravest injunctions known to humankind—thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not bear false witness—and Republican senators have admitted that he is guilty.

It is our duty to win back the Senate. Please give before it is too late.

But for all their professed fealty to tradition, to law and order, to knowing right from wrong, they simply do not care. They have decided that it’s not against the law to commit a crime, so long as the wicked leader of their death cult is the criminal.

A reckoning is now due. The Republicans in the Senate have shown us that they will not deliver justice, so we must deliver justice ourselves.

While Republicans have confessed they will do everything in their power to rig these next elections, we must do everything in our power to ensure that they are free, that they are fair, and that Republicans lose—as badly as possible.

Let us show just how serious we are. We can contribute today to help unseat the most vulnerable Republican senators come November. The more we give, the greater the fear we will instill in them, and the more likely we are to prevail.

We are disgusted, we are dismayed, we are filled with sorrow. But we are also very, very angry, and we must channel that anger. Republicans want to put our democracy to the torch, but together we can douse those flames and build anew.

Please, give whatever you can right now. The future of our dear republic depends on it.