Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | CDC recommends avoiding Thanksgiving travel … Biden meets with governors … Third Cincinnati council member arrested on corruption charges … Las Vegas tries to lure tech workers from Seattle and San Francisco
President Trump is now turning to Republican lawmakers in state legislatures as he fights to stay in power, despite losing the Nov. 3 presidential election to Joe Biden. Trump’s lawyers are trying to shift the control over appointing Electoral College electors away from governors and secretaries of state and toward lawmakers in GOP-controlled legislatures, Reuters reported. A Trump campaign official also told the news agency that the campaign is attempting to raise enough doubt about the credibility of the electoral process in big, Democratic-leaning cities, that lawmakers will decide to intervene despite the lack of evidence of systemic voting problems. Two top GOP lawmakers from Michigan—Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield—are expected to visit the White House on Friday. Unofficial voting results show Biden defeating Trump by more than 150,000 votes in Michigan, where 16 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election are at stake. Shirkey told The Detroit News this week that he does not expect the outcome in the state’s presidential race to change. On Tuesday, he told Bridge Michigan that the legislature won’t step into the process of deciding the election. Chatfield also acknowledged that Biden is winning. "But President Trump is still the president of the United States and he's not conceded this election. And my job is to investigate reports of fraud and reports of irregularities," Chatfield said. "That's what we are going to do. When the time comes for there to be a concession, then I am sure that will happen." The latest moves by Trump come as his push to overturn the election results in court have so far failed and as he and his allies make unfounded accusations that widespread voter fraud swung the election against him. [Reuters, The Detroit News, The Washington Post]
MEANWHILE | President-elect Joe Biden met by video conference with a group of Republican and Democratic governors on Thursday, and knocked Trump for impeding a peaceful transition of power. “Unfortunately, my administration hasn’t been able to get everything we need,” Biden said. Thursday’s meeting included members of the National Governors Association’s leadership team. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, was among the participants. “As I said on the day that the president-elect was declared the winner, his election has provided a mandate for cooperation,” he said. [Associated Press]
THANKSGIVING | Americans should not travel for the Thanksgiving holiday because of the surging health risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending. “The reason that we made the update is that the fact that over the week we've seen over a million new cases in the country," said Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz, the CDC's lead for Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force. Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager for the CDC, said one of the agency’s concerns is people will get together during the holiday season, bringing infection with them to small gatherings, and not even know it. "What is at stake is the increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick and then being hospitalized and dying around the holidays,” he added. [CNN]
CORRUPTION CASE | Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld was arrested Thursday morning by FBI agents and stands accused of bribery and attempted extortion. He is the third council member arrested on corruption-related charges in the city this year. Sittenfeld pleaded not guilty. In an indictment, authorities allege that Sittenfeld solicited and accepted $40,000 in bribes in exchange for supporting a development project, with the money funneled into a political action committee that he controlled. "I can deliver the votes,” he at one point told undercover FBI agents, according to the indictment. Since his election to the council in 2011, Sittenfeld became one of Cincinnati’s most popular and powerful political figures. Mayor John Cranley called on him to resign. "Given the events of three council members arrested this year, we need to clean house," Cranley said. [Cincinnati.com]
MOVING TO LAS VEGAS? | Economic development officials in Las Vegas are trying to convince tech workers to move there from cities like San Francisco and Seattle. They’ve launched a campaign featuring digital ads, a promotional website and LinkedIn messaging. “What do you have to lose to try Vegas out?” asks business development manager Ryan Smith. The city’s effort comes as office workers across the country are working remotely because of the coronavirus. “There’s just a lot of things about California that a lot of people are like, ‘Why am I paying to live next to an office that I don’t go to commute to?’” said Valerie Villarreal, a 35-year-old product manager for Instagram who recently moved to Las Vegas from California. “I was paying like a stupid amount of rent for no reason.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Bill Lucia is a senior reporter for Route Fifty and is based in Olympia, Washington.