State Department to receive first Covid-19 vaccines this week

WASHINGTON — The State Department will be receiving its first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine this week, according to internal agency communications obtained by NBC News. 

The “very limited number,” of the vaccines received by the department in the first tranche will be administered to a small prioritized group of staff undertaking “mission critical” work, according to an email sent to employees Tuesday by Under Secretary of State Brian Bulatao. He did not say how many doses would be immediately available to diplomats, but noted more would arrive “incrementally over the next several months.”

Frontline medical personnel are among those first to receive the vaccine as well as State Department employees serving on the frontlines in Kabul, Afghanistan; Baghdad, Iraq and Mogadishu, Somalia, where poor healthcare systems put them even more at risk. Diplomatic Security agents in Washington, D.C. performing critical operations and coming into close contact with the Secretary of State will also be a priority for vaccinations.  

A vial of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine that receive emergency use authorization is seen at George Washington University Hospital, in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 14, 2020.Jacquelyn Martin / Pool via Reuters

“While we would have preferred to vaccinate our entire Department workforce at once, we will have to do so incrementally based on vaccine availability,” Bulatao said in the State Department-wide email. In the meantime, Bulatao advised employees “to continue to wear face coverings, physically distance, and follow [Department] guidance.”

Bulatao noted the State Department is working closely with Operation Warp Speed, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, and will “deploy the Covid-19 vaccine to the broader workforce as soon as it is made available.”

A State Department spokesperson declined to expand on the timing or logistics of agency’s plan due to “operational sensitivity,” but said vaccine distribution “will allow the Department to advance U.S. national security interests and ensure America’s essential diplomacy continues unimpeded.”

The State Department prioritization comes as officials across the U.S. government, in particular at national security agencies, are working to decide how and when to dole out the vaccine to critical staffers while avoiding the perception that government workers are skipping the line. 

President Donald Trump has said White House staffers should get it “somewhat later in the program” and that he isn’t currently scheduled to do so until “the appropriate time.” Two sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence will get the vaccine by week’s end. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller received the Covid-19 vaccine on camera on Monday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Nina Turner announces bid for potential Ohio House special election

WASHINGTON — Former Ohio state senator Nina Turner announced her campaign for Rep. Marcia Fudge’s, D-Ohio, seat on Tuesday. Turner was the co-chair of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. 

[vc_row][vc_column][us_carousel post_type="ids" ids="260184, 260250, 107361" orderby="post__in" items_quantity="3" items_layout="11024" columns="3" items_gap="5px" overriding_link="post" breakpoint_1_cols="4" breakpoint_2_cols="3" breakpoint_3_cols="2"][/vc_column][/vc_row]
{ "slotId": "7483666091", "unitType": "in-article", "pubId": "pub-9300059770542025" }

Fudge’s seat will become vacant if she is confirmed as President-elect Joe Biden’s Housing and Urban Development secretary. Biden announced Fudge as his choice to lead HUD on Dec. 8

Turner touched on her Cleveland roots — a large part of Ohio’s 11th district — in her announcement video. 

“I am a daughter of Cleveland. I was raised in this community by parents who worked very hard. My mother was a nurse’s aid, my father a truck driver. I can relate to people who live in the 11th Congressional District from all walks of life,” Turner said. 

The district has been represented by just two representatives since 2000: Fudge and former Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Turner, like Fudge and Jones, is also a woman of color. 

Turner served as a state senator from 2008 to 2014 in the Cleveland area, and was on the Cleveland city council prior to that. She has already amassed support from Sanders campaign alums like California Rep. Ro Khanna and the progressive group, Our Revolution, that was created after Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. 

[vc_row height="auto" width="full" css="%7B%22default%22%3A%7B%22margin-left%22%3A%220%22%2C%22margin-top%22%3A%220%22%2C%22margin-bottom%22%3A%220%22%2C%22margin-right%22%3A%220%22%2C%22padding-left%22%3A%220%22%2C%22padding-top%22%3A%220%22%2C%22padding-bottom%22%3A%220%22%2C%22padding-right%22%3A%220%22%7D%7D"][vc_column][us_page_block id="48000"][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Gov. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, will call a special election if and when Fudge formally leaves her seat to lead HUD. 

GOP holds spending edge five weeks into Senate runoffs

WASHINGTON — Republicans hold a narrow TV and radio spending edge in the Georgia Senate runoffs, an edge powered by a big boost from outside groups. 

There’s already been about $220 million spent on the airwaves in both races combined, according to the ad-tracking firm AdImpact, with more than $400 million in total already slated to be spent over the two-month runoff period. 

That type of spending, in such a small period, means that Georgians have already been inundated with TV ads — AdImpact estimates that as of last Thursday, every Georgian adult (aged 35 or above) had seen about 328 Senate runoff ads already. 

Republicans overall have a larger spending advantage in the special runoff, which pits GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock. Republicans have spent $60.9 million through Monday to the Democrats’ $50.4 million. 

The GOP spending edge in the race between GOP Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff is smaller — $55.7 million to $53 million. 

Supporters of Sens. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue, R-Ga., wait for the arrival of Vice President Mike Pence at his Defend the Majority Rally on Dec. 10, 2020, in Augusta, Ga.Curtis Compton / AP

Under the hood, both races are following similar trends, with the Democratic candidates the largest individual TV ad spenders in their races, but with Republican outside groups filling the gap, and then some. 

Warnock leads the pack in his race with $37.3 million spent on TV and radio ads, with Loeffler at $25 million. But the GOP-aligned American Crossroads is right behind her at $24.8 million, with the top Democratic outside group Georgia Honor at $11.8 million. 

Ossoff similarly is outpacing Perdue, spending $41.1 million to the Republican’s $22.7 million. Senate Leadership Fund, the GOP-aligned group, spent $22.5 million, with the Democrat-aligned Georgia Way spending $10.6 million. 

In-person early voting in Georgia Senate runoffs begins Monday

WASHINGTON — Voters are voting in person in Georgia’s Senate runoff.

Georgians could already vote absentee to choose between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, as well as GOP Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff. But Monday marked the first day when voters could cast their ballots for the pivotal elections in person. 

Voters line up for the first day of early voting in Atlanta on Dec. 14, 2020.Jessica McGowan / Getty Images

Early, in-person voting made up 54 percent of total votes in the Senate races’ first round, so it’s going to be important for the candidates to bank these votes (you can see more of the breakdown at the Secretary of State’s website, they refer to it as “advanced voting”).

For what it’s worth, GOP Sen. David Perdue won those advanced votes in his race by a margin of about 54 percent to 46 percent. In a massive field (reminder: the special election held a jungle primary), GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and GOP Rep. Doug Collins, the two top GOP candidates, won a combined 49 percent, per the Secretary of State’s website, while Warnock, far-and-away the top Democrat in the crowded field, winning 30 percent (the second-place Democrat, Deborah Jackson, had another 7 percent of the early votes). 

Cobb County, the state’s most populous county, announced last week it would add two more locations for early voting in response to “concerns” that its initial plan of more limited locations could hamper the ability of minority voters to make have access to the polls. 

Biden to share staff, financial resources with Warnock and Ossoff

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden is sharing both staff and financial resources from his presidential campaign with Georgia’s Democratic Senate candidates ahead of their closely-watched runoff elections on Jan. 5.

The Biden campaign — in conjunction with the Democratic National Committee — has spent roughly $5 million in the runoff races so far and has raised nearly $10 million for Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, two Democratic officials confirmed to NBC News.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater, on Dec. 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.Andrew Harnik / AP

Biden won Georgia by less than a point in the November presidential election, and the runoff races will decide which party controls the Senate.

The Biden campaign is paying for about 50 staffers to continue working in Georgia and has shifted another dozen data analytics and technology staffers to help the Ossoff and Warnock campaigns. The staffers will be led by two senior members of Biden’s Georgia effort, and their focus will be on the ground game: organizing Democrats and outreach to critical constituencies and voter contact.

And Biden isn’t just lending his team to help Ossoff and Warnock. The president-elect will visit Atlanta on Tuesday to campaign for the candidates. 

Lamar Alexander criticizes GOP lawsuit aimed at overturning election

WASHINGTON — In an interview with “Meet the Press,” retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., dismissed the attempt by a handful of Republican state attorneys general to get the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the election results in four pivotal states that helped President-elect Joe Biden win November’s election. 

Alexander, in an excerpted part of the interview released Friday, argued the lawsuit would infringe on states’ rights. 

“That doesn’t sound like a very Republican argument to me,” he said of the challenge led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican.

Dec. 11, 202000:52

“I mean, our position, my position, Republicans believe that states are in charge of elections. And Texas is a big state, but I don’t know exactly why it has a right to tell four other states how to run their elections. So I’m having a hard time figuring out the basis for that lawsuit.”

Paxton’s lawsuit, filed this week against Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, argues that the Court should allow state legislators to pick the slate of presidential electors because of what he claims was widespread fraud. 

But a bipartisan group of top election officials in those four states pushed back on allegations of fraud, the president and his allies have lost dozens of lawsuits claiming fraud, legal experts have raised serious questions about the lawsuit, and Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse called the case a “PR stunt” in an interview with the Washington Examiner

Tune in to Meet the Press on Sunday for more of the interview with Sen. Alexander, including his response to the president’s attempts to overturn the election results, and his thoughts on the future of the Republican party as he  prepares to retire after decades in politics.

Outgoing Rep. Max Rose files paperwork for potential NYC mayor run

WASHINGTON — Outgoing Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., filed paperwork on Thursday for a possible run for New York City mayor.

Rose, who lost his House seat to incoming Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., in November, represented New York’s 11th district. 

Rose previewed the news in a tweet on Thursday night, after filing the paperwork that will allow him to raise money for a potential run. He hasn’t formally announced his candidacy. 

Before losing his re-election bid, Rose said he wouldn’t run for mayor if he lost his congressional seat. 

“You think that a short, bald Jewish guy from Brooklyn is gonna get elected mayor? I’m running for reelection and that’s the position I want,” Rose said at the time. 

But Rose also made criticizing the current mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, a central point in his campaign. Rose cut an ad in September saying, “Bill de Blasio is the worst mayor in the history of New York City.” He then added, “That’s it guys. Seriously. That’s the whole ad.”

Rose won New York’s 11th District in 2018, ousting Republican Rep. Dan Donovan, and was the first Democrat to win the seat in eight years. Malliotakis will now be New York City’s only Republican congressperson. 

And another name from 2020 could follow Rose’s lead into the mayoral race. Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has reportedly told some New York City leaders that he’s considering a run. 

Doug Emhoff to join Georgetown Law faculty in 2021

WASHINGTON — Georgetown University Law Center announced Thursday that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, will join their faculty in January 2021.

Emhoff will join as a “distinguished visitor from practice” and fellow. Prior to President-elect Joe Biden and Harris’ electoral win, Emhoff worked as a media and entertainment attorney in California. Emhoff will teach a two-credit course at Georgetown entitled “Entertainment Law Disputes.”

Emhoff and Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, both plan to work during their spouses’ term. Biden plans to continue teaching after inauguration, making her the first first lady to hold a job outside of the White House. 

Senator Kamala Harris and husband Douglas Emhoff smile while standing on stage during the Democratic National Convention at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., on Aug. 19, 2020.Stefani Reynolds / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

“I’ve long wanted to teach and serve the next generation of young lawyers,” Emhoff said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited to join the Georgetown community.”

Emhoff has not yet announced what kind, if any, work he’ll do as the vice president’s husband. 

“This role at Georgetown will be separate and apart from his official role as Second Gentleman, and Mr. Emhoff continues to work with the Biden-Harris transition team to develop the portfolio he will focus on to support the work of the Administration,” a transition spokesperson said.

During the general election, Emhoff repeatedly mentioned interest in working on “access to justice” in his role as second gentleman. And during a stop in Washington D.C. before Thanksgiving with Harris, he mentioned an interest in food insecurity.

Arizona gov elected chair of Republican Governors Association amid Trump’s criticism

WASHINGTON — Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has been elected the chair of the Republican Governors Association despite President Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on him for certifying the state’s electoral results. 

The association announced Ducey’s election in a statement Wednesday confirming Ducey would lead the group and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds would serve as vice chair. Both will serve one-year terms effective immediately. 

Trump publicly turned on Ducey in the last two weeks, tweeting that Ducey has betrayed Arizonans and suggesting that “Republicans will long remember” that Ducey did not fight the state’s narrow election results.

Over the weekend, Trump followed in a tweet: “Between Governor @DougDucey of Arizona and Governor @BrianKempGA of Georgia, the Democrat Party could not be happier. They fight harder against us than do the Radical Left Dems. If they were with us, we would have already won both Arizona and Georgia…” 

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey answers a question about the arrival of a Covid-19 vaccine in Arizona as he holds a news conference regarding the latest Covid-19 information as Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ listens, on Dec. 2, 2020, in Phoenix.Ross D. Franklin / Pool via AP

But despite the push from Trump and his legal team to discredit the state’s leaders and its election results, top Republicans in the state, including Ducey, have defended their state’s count. 

“I’ve been pretty outspoken about Arizona’s election system, and bragged about it quite a bit, including in the Oval Office. And for good reason,” Ducey tweeted last month.

“In Arizona, we have some of the strongest election laws in the country, laws that prioritize accountability and clearly lay out procedures for conducting, canvassing, and even contesting the results of an election.”

Biden’s Cabinet picks leave House Democrats with a narrow majority

WASHINGTON — President-elect Biden’s decision to select Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to be his Housing and Urban Development secretary could have a major impact on the Democrats’ House majority.

As of right now, the 2020 elections reduced the Democratic majority to 222 seats. That majority will get even slimmer with Fudge and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., departing for jobs in the Biden administration. With the majority, assuming Fudge is confirmed, down to 220, Democrats will hold just two seats more than a majority of a full House (218).  

Special elections will be held for Fudge and Richmonds’ seats, but it could take months for those elections to determine a winner in these heavily Democratic districts. 

And narrow majority could be worrisome for Democrats. 

If Biden picks more House Democrats to serve in his administration, or if other Democrats in the House resign or pass away, the party could potentially lose its majority.  

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi talks to reporters after she was re-elected to lead her conference along with Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, D-Mass., Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., and Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., in Washington on Nov. 18, 2020.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters that he was concerned about the slimming majority and indicated as much to the Biden team.

“I’m certainly concerned by the slimming of the majority. I indicated to the administration very early on that I wanted them to be very careful in terms of the members that they appointed from Congress,” Hoyer said.

That means it doesn’t look good for any other House Democrats to get a Cabinet nod — like New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland, who’s a contender for Interior Secretary.  

But even if Democrats do retain the House majority, it won’t be an effective governable majority. Democrats are bound to need Republican help to pass big-ticket items, because it’s likely they’ll see defections from either progressives or moderates on any legislation. 

Terry McAuliffe to announce Virginia governor’s bid Wednesday

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe will announce Wednesday morning that he will run again for his former seat, according to aides involved in his emerging campaign.

McAuliffe, who entertained a run for president in 2020, is up against three other Democrats, all of whom are Black: current Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, state senator Jennifer McClellan and former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy. Either McCllellan or Foy, if elected, would be the nation’s first Black woman governor.

Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe arrives at the election night rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia on Nov. 7, 2017.Aaron Bernstein / Reuters file

McAulliffe will announce his candidacy at an elementary school in Richmond to focus on his education plan.

“[McAuliffe’s] plan will call for the largest ever investment in education in the Commonwealth, and will include raising teacher salaries above the national average for the first time in Virginia history,” the campaign says.

Since McAuliffe’s term as governor ended in 2018, he’s stayed heavily involved in engaging and fundraising for Virginia Democrats, particularly in the aftermath of the controversy that engulfed current Gov. Ralph Northam over a picture of him in blackface was found in a medical school yearbook.

McAuliffe’s PAC “Common Good” has raised more than $1.7 million as of July.

McAulliffe will also announce his campaign co-chairs tomorrow, all of whom all Black leaders in the commonwealth, including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. 

Virginia’s gubernatorial race has long been an early bellwether test for both parties ahead of the next midterm elections since it takes place in an otherwise off-year for elective politics. 

Joe Biden won Virginia by more than 10 points, but with more progressive candidates in the primary like Jennifer Caroll Foy, the conversation could shift left.

McAuliffe is also jumping in the race at a moment when Republicans in Virginia have been battling over how to hold their own party’s primary, and on Saturday decided to hold a convention versus a primary vote to choose their nominee. State senator Amanda Chase, who is running on a far right agenda, initially announced her gubernatorial run as a Republican, but now said she would seek the nominee as an independent. 

Prepare Now Before its too Late

Discover where products are available & compare prices

NY Republicans want to check Andrew Cuomo’s emergency COVID-19 powers
Watch man get vicious, stalk woman over mask

{ "slotId": "6776584505", "unitType": "responsive", "pubId": "pub-9300059770542025", "resize": "auto" }
You might also like
{ "slotId": "8544127595", "unitType": "responsive", "pubId": "pub-9300059770542025", "resize": "auto" }
Menu