The Democrat with perhaps the best chance to unseat Chuck Grassley, the Republican senator from Iowa, in the midterm elections in November has been knocked off the 7 June primary ballot – for now.
As the Associated Press reports, late on Sunday a state judge ruled that Abby Finkenauer cannot appear on the ballot for the Democratic primary, because of a technicality.
The ruling from the judge, Scott Beattie, an appointee of the Republican governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, overturned a decision from a panel of three state elected officials last week which found Finkenauer’s campaign staff had mostly followed a law requiring candidates to obtain 3,500 signatures, including at least 100 from a minimum of 19 counties.
Two Republicans challenged Finkenauer’s paperwork, saying signatures from at least two counties were missing the date required to accompany them, the AP said. Finkenauer can appeal the ruling to the Iowa supreme court.
Finkenauer is considered the Democratic frontrunner in the primary partly because of her past experience in Congress, having served in the US House from 2019 to 2021.
Other Democrats in the primary are Mike Franken, a retired admiral, and Glenn Hurst, a doctor and city council member. Whoever wins will advance to face Grassley, who at a sprightly 88 years old is in search of an eighth term in the Senate, having first been elected in 1980.
The Democrats for now hold a single-vote edge in the 50-50 Senate because vice-president Kamala Harris can serve as a tiebreaker. As always, both parties are trying to retain seats while flipping others to secure a majority in the chamber.
Watching Fox News can be like entering an alternative universe. It’s a world where Vladimir Putin isn’t actually that bad but vaccines may be and where some unhinged rightwing figures are celebrated as heroes but Anthony Fauci, America’s top public health official, is an unrivaled villain.
Given the steady stream of misinformation an avid Fox News consumer is subjected to, the viewers – predominantly elderly, white and Donald Trump-supporting – are sometimes written off as lost causes by Democrats and progressives, but according to a new study, there is still hope.
In an unusual, and labor intensive, project, two political scientists paid a group of regular Fox News viewers to instead watch CNN for a month. At the end of the period, the researchers found surprising results; some of the Fox News watchers had changed their minds on a range of key issues, including the US response to coronavirus and Democrats’ attitude to police.
Interesting news from Wyoming – via Politico – about Liz Cheney, the defiantly anti-Trump conservative Republican.
Politico reports that the daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney “is prepared to announce that [she] raised an eye-popping $2.94m in Q1 of 2022, bringing her total haul for the cycle to more than $10m. With four months left to go in the primary campaign, Cheney has $6.8m on hand”.
What that means is that Cheney is well placed for the fight to keep her seat, against a Donald Trump-endorsed challenger and other Republican hopefuls, one of whom the website describes as “even Trumpier” than the one the former president has chosen to back.
Wyoming is deep-red Republican and as Politico says, “in previous cycles it was common for Cheney to raise a few hundred thousand dollars in a quarter, mostly from Wyoming residents. With the national attention her race has received, money has poured in from across the country.”
Cheney was booted out of Republican House leadership over her membership, with Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, of the January 6 committee. Unlike Kinzinger, one of four anti-Trump Republicans to have announced retirements in November, Cheney is sticking around for the fight.
This has all raised her profile considerably. One more quote from Politico: “If she beats Trumpism in Wyoming, [Cheney] will immediately be able to leverage her new national fundraising network into a potential 2024 [presidential] primary showdown against the man himself.
“After all, she said last May, “I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”
Here’s more on Cheney and January 6:
Maryland has become the 15th US state to allow health professionals other than doctors to carry out abortions, as part of a bill expanding access to reproductive rights for women.
Under the new law, midwives, senior nurses and trained doctor’s assistants will be authorised to perform medical abortions from 1 July. The bill also directs the state to ring-fence $3.5m a year for abortion-care training.
The bill was vetoed by the Republican governor, Larry Hogan, but approved on Saturday with substantial majorities in the state house and senate.
Hogan claimed in an open letter the bill would “endanger the health and lives of women” and “set back standards for women’s health care and safety”.
There is no evidence that allowing advanced clinicians to provide abortion care in states including California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois and New Hampshire has led to lower standards.
The law, which may face legal challenge from anti-choice groups, also requires most insurance companies to cover the cost of an abortion at no cost to the patient. The average cost of an abortion is $500 but costs vary widely across the US and can be much higher when accounting for travel and days off work.
The Maryland legislation comes amid a surge in bills in Republican-run states seeking to severely restrict or ban access to abortion.
Last week, a young woman was jailed in Texas after being accused of causing the “death of an individual by self-induced abortion”.
Lizelle Herrera, 26 and from Starr county, was released on Sunday after charges were dropped amid widespread condemnation.
Read more here:
A federal judge has indicated that an attempt to stop the far-right Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene running for re-election will be allowed to proceed, with a ruling expected as early as today.
The challenge from a group of Georgia voters says Greene should be disqualified under the 14th amendment to the US constitution, because she supported insurrectionists who attacked the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.
A similar challenge in North Carolina, against Madison Cawthorn, another prominent supporter of Donald Trump, was blocked.
But on Friday Amy Totenberg, a federal judge in Georgia, said she had “significant questions and concerns” about the ruling in the Cawthorn case, CNN reported.
Totenberg said she was likely to rule on Greene’s attempt to have her case dismissed on Monday, two days before a scheduled hearing before a state judge.
The 14th amendment was passed by Congress in 1866, a year after the end of the civil war, and ratified in 1868.
It says: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Congress can reverse any such prohibition.
Read more here: