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In Statehouses, myth of stolen elections fuels GOP campaign to rewrite the rules

Ms Bernier of Wisconsin, for example, said she saw no problem with a bill that would allocate one ballot box to voters in cities like New Berlin, with 40,000 residents, and one for voters in Milwaukee, with 590,000 inhabitants. There were no drop boxes at all, she noted, until state officials made an emergency exception during the pandemic.

“The Legislature could say that no drop box is needed at all,” she said.

Nathaniel Persily, political scientist and election specialist at Stanford University, said he disagreed. Presidential elections always attract more voters, he said, but the hard work of democracy often occurs during off-year votes for smaller offices where interest is lower. In these elections, “if there are barriers placed in the path of voters, they will not stand,” he said.

Mike Noble, a public opinion expert from Phoenix, wondered if Trumpian’s Arizona Legislature’s anti-fraud program has political legs, even though polls show a level of belief Republican in the stolen election myth of Mr. Trump which he calls “staggering.”

Republicans who consider themselves more moderate make up about a third of party support in Arizona, he said, and they are much less likely to believe the myth. And they can be turned off by a legislature that wants to reduce mailings of postal ballots in a state where voters – especially Republicans – have long voted overwhelmingly by mail.

“I don’t see how a rational person would see where the advantage is,” he said.

Some other Republicans apparently agree. In Kentucky, which has some of the toughest voting laws in the country, the staunchly Republican State House voted almost unanimously on Friday to allow early voting, albeit only three days, and online requests for postal votes. Both were first tried during the pandemic and, most importantly, were popular with voters and county election officials.

If that kind of recognition of November’s successes resonated in other Republican states, Mr. Persily and another electoral scholar, Charles Stewart III of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in a recent study, it could bode well for alleviating deep divisions over future elections. rules. If the stolen election myth continues to guide Republican politics, Mr Persily said, it could predict a future with two types of elections in which voting rights, turnout and confidence in the results would be significantly different, according to the Minister. party that wrote the rules. .

“These trajectories are on the horizon,” he said. “Some states take a deception approach to regulating voting that is only distantly linked to fraud issues. And that could lead to massive collateral damage for voting rights. “

Susan C. Beachy contributed to the research.

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How Texas’ campaign for energy independence prepared it for disaster

But the two agencies are almost inexplicable and harmless compared to regulators in other regions, where many utilities have better consumer protection and submit an annual planning report to ensure adequate electricity supply. Texas energy companies have great latitude in planning for catastrophic events.

An example of how Texas has gone it alone is its refusal to impose a “reserve margin” of additional available power above expected demand, unlike all other power systems in North America. Without a warrant, there is little incentive to invest in precautions for events, like a snowstorm in the south, which are rare. Any company that took such precautions would put itself at a competitive disadvantage.

An excess supply of natural gas, the main electric fuel in Texas, near power plants could have helped avoid the cascade of blackouts in which electricity went out, forcing the production and transmission of natural gas offline, resulting in further power shortages.

Following the multi-day blackouts, ERCOT has come under fire from Democratic and Republican residents, lawmakers and business leaders, a rare manifestation of unity in a fiercely partisan, Republican-dominated state. Mr Abbott said he supported calls for the agency’s leadership to resign and had made reform of the ERCOT a priority for the legislature. The math was quick – this week lawmakers will hold hearings in Austin to investigate the agency’s handling of the storm and power outages.

For the ERCOT operators, the onset of the storm was swift and fierce, but they anticipated it and knew it would strain their system. They asked electricity customers across the state to save money, warning that blackouts were likely.

But late on Sunday February 14, it quickly became clear that the storm was much worse than they expected: sleet and snow fell and temperatures plunged. In the council’s command center outside Austin, a room dominated by flashing screens with maps, graphs and data to track the flow of electricity to 26 million people in Texas, workers stand are quickly found to avoid a crisis. As the weather deteriorated until Monday morning, residents turned up their heaters and demand increased.

Power plants began to fall offline in rapid succession as they were engulfed in freezing weather or ran out of fuel to burn. Within hours, 40% of the power supply had been lost.

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US and Novavax to contribute to global vaccination campaign

WASHINGTON – An international effort to speed up the manufacture and distribution of coronavirus vaccines around the world was lifted Thursday on two fronts: White House officials said the Biden administration would keep its US pledge to donate $ 4 billion to the campaign over two years, and pharmaceutical company Novavax has pledged to sell 1.1 billion doses of its vaccine.

President Biden will make his announcement on Friday in a virtual meeting with other leaders of the Group of 7, where he is also expected to call on other countries to step up their contributions. The $ 4 billion was approved last year by a Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate when President Donald J. Trump was in office.

Public health experts often say that if not everyone is vaccinated, it is as if no one is vaccinated. One of the officials, who spoke anonymously to preview the president’s announcement, said it was also in the interest of international security for the United States to contribute to efforts abroad to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

Countries like India and China are already using the coronavirus vaccine as a diplomatic tool; both distribute doses to other countries in an attempt to expand their global influence. National security experts said the United States should consider doing the same.

“We could use the vaccine internationally to strengthen our relations with our allies, to possibly establish positive cooperation with China, to deal with humanitarian problems in the less developed regions of the world,” Richard J. Danzig, who was Secretary of the Navy to President Bill Clinton said in an interview late last year, lamenting the Trump administration’s indifference to the idea. Such an effort, he said, “could give us a very substantial national security advantage.”

The Biden White House appears to be heading in that direction. After taking office, Biden called on federal agencies to come up with “a framework for the donation of surplus vaccine, once there is enough vaccine in the United States, to countries in need,” including through the international program.

But, an official said on Thursday, the United States will not share vaccines for now, as the nationwide vaccination campaign grows.

The administration has obtained 600 million doses of the two vaccines that have emergency clearance, enough for 300 million Americans. Those doses are expected to be available by the end of the summer, and Mr Biden said this week that the vaccines would be available to every American by the end of July. If additional vaccines are approved, as is highly likely, it would add to the US supply.

The international vaccination effort, known as Covax, has been led by the public-private health partnership known as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, as well as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the Organization world health. It aims to distribute vaccines deemed safe and effective by WHO, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries.

White House officials said the money will be released in installments: an initial donation of $ 500 million immediately, followed by nearly an additional $ 1.5 billion. The remaining $ 2 billion will be delivered by the end of 2022.

The president’s commitment to the global fight against the pandemic is in stark contrast to the approach of Mr. Trump, who withdrew from the World Health Organization and scorned foreign aid, pursuing foreign policy which he called “America first”. Mr Biden joined the World Health Organization immediately after taking office in January.

One of the officials said Mr Biden would call on other countries to make meaningful promises to Covax.

So far, the United States has promised more than any other nation, according to the White House; The official said the goal was to turn the second tranche of $ 2 billion into $ 15 billion – the amount the administration believes is needed to increase the supply of vaccines around the world and to distribute it.

Covax executives greeted Novavax’s announcement with enthusiasm. Dr Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi, said in a statement that the donation would help the campaign “get closer to our goal of delivering two billion doses by 2021”. He said it would also expand the range of vaccines he could draw on to “build a portfolio suitable for all settings and contexts.”

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New Democrat ad campaign links GOP to QAnon

As Republicans wrangle over how to treat Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon devotee from Georgia who peddles an array of bogus conspiracy theories, Democrats are using infighting to avatar of an array of GOP lawmakers.

The Congressional Democratic campaign committee on Tuesday launched a $ 500,000 television and online advertising campaign linking eight House Republicans, including Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Minority Leader, to Ms Greene and QAnon, in the purpose of forcing them to make a public statement about Mrs. Greene.

“Congressman Don Bacon,” a disturbing voice intones in the announcement targeting the Nebraska Republican, “he was with Q, not with you.

The strategy is similar to that employed by Republicans against Democrats last summer during protests against racial injustice, when they sought to paint all Democrats as being in favor of defounding the police, including the president. Biden, who has repeatedly said he does not favor her.

By releasing the QAnon-focused ads this week, Democrats are striking a raw nerve within the Republican Party. Ms Greene’s sweeping statements – she indicated her support for the execution of Democratic politicians several years ago – have alarmed even Republicans as well as Democrats. On Monday, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, said the “wacky lies and conspiracy theories” adopted by Ms. Greene amounted to “cancer” of the party.

Like the Republican ads that flooded the airwaves last year with grainy images of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic ads feature Ms Greene and Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who also expressed her support for QAnon, as much as the candidates they attack. .

“QAnon, an online-born conspiracy theory, has taken control of the Republican Party,” says the narrator of the ad, as images of Ms Greene and Ms Boebert flash across the screen. “Sent supporters to Congress and, along with Donald Trump, instigated a mob that attacked the Capitol and murdered a cop.”

QAnon is a sprawling internet conspiracy theory that falsely claims the world is ruled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are plotting against former President Donald J. Trump.

Democrats in Washington have adopted Ms Greene as the symbol of the post-Trump Republican Party, aiming to raise her profile as part of an effort to divide the GOP while seeking to force Republicans to vote on whether or not to vote. allow them to stay on House committees. On Saturday, President Nancy Pelosi’s press office issued a press release under the headline “Minority Leader McCarthy (̶G̶O̶P̶) ̶ (QAnon) Kiss Marjorie Taylor Greene. “

Ms Greene has used the din to raise funds and emphasize her connection to Mr Trump, essentially daring Mr McCarthy to discipline her at the risk of alienating Mr Trump and those among the party’s base voters who adhere to his theories of the party. conspiracy. On Saturday, two days after Mr. McCarthy met Mr. Trump in Florida, Ms. Greene tweeted that she also spoke with the former president and that he had offered encouragement.

Mr McCarthy is expected to meet Ms Greene later this week, caught between Mr Trump’s support for her and Mr McConnell’s conviction.

The new Democratic ads do not distinguish between Republicans who voted to overturn the Electoral College results and those who did not. Of the eight Republicans targeted, only Mr. McCarthy and Representatives Mike Garcia of California and Beth Van Duyne of Texas opposed Mr. Biden’s victory. Separate ads also target Mr. Bacon and reps Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Young Kim and Michelle Steel of California.

Each of the incumbents voted against the impeachment of Mr. Trump.

“The Republicans in Washington have made their choice – they have chosen to give in to the murderous Q-Anon mob that has taken control of their party,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, chairman of the campaign committee of the Democratic Congress. “Their actions made one thing clear: No American will be safe from the QAnon mob if the Republicans in Washington are in power.

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77 days: Trump’s campaign to overturn the election

Mr. Barr had resigned in December. But behind the back of Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, the President was plotting with Acting Department of Justice Civil Division chief Jeffrey Clark and a Pennsylvania congressman named Scott Perry to lobby Georgia to invalidate its results, investigate Dominion, and bring in a new Supreme Court case challenging the entire election. The intrigues came to an abrupt end when Mr Rosen, who was reportedly fired under the plan, assured the president that senior officials in the department would resign en masse.

This left Congress certification as the main event.

Mr. McConnell had been working for weeks to keep his members online. On a conference call in mid-December, he urged them to steer clear and protect the two Republican run-off candidates in Georgia from having to take a difficult stand.

When Mr. Hawley stepped forward, according to Republican senators, Mr. McConnell hoped to at least keep him isolated.

But Mr Cruz was working against the grain, trying to enlist others to sign a letter outlining his circular logic: because polls have shown that the Republicans’ “unprecedented allegations” of fraud had convinced two-thirds of them. party that Mr Biden had stolen the election, it was incumbent on Congress to at least delay certification and order a 10-day audit in “disputed states.” Mr Cruz, along with 10 other opponents, published the letter on the Saturday after the New Year.

Mr. McConnell knew that Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, one of the most conservative Republicans, had planned to speak publicly against the bet. Now the Majority Leader has called Mr. Cotton, according to a Republican familiar with the conversation, and urged him to do so as soon as possible. Mr. Cotton quickly complied.

It boiled down to a contest of wills within the Republican Party, and tens of thousands of Trump supporters converged on Washington to send a message to those who might challenge the president.

The rally had taken on a new branding, the March to Save America, and other groups joined, including the Republican Association of Attorneys General. Its political wing, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, promoted the event in a robocall that read: “We will walk to the Capitol building and ask Congress to stop the theft,” according to a recording obtained by the progressive investigative group Documented.

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Biden vows federal vaccination campaign to defeat soaring coronavirus

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., racing against an outbreak of coronavirus cases and the emergence of a new variant that could worsen the crisis, plans a vaccination offensive that calls for dramatically expanding access to vaccine while using a wartime law to increase production.

In a speech on Friday in Wilmington, Del., Mr Biden told Americans that “we are left in a very dark winter,” allowing, “the honest truth is this: Things will get worse before they get better.”

“I told you,” he said, “I’ll always be level with you.” But he also tried to offer hope for the end of a pandemic that claimed the lives of nearly 390,000 Americans and unraveled the economic and social fabric of the country.

“Our plan is as clear as it is bold: get more people vaccinated for free, create more places to get vaccinated, mobilize more medical teams to get vaccines in people’s arms, increase the supply and make it get out as soon as possible. possible, ”he said, calling it“ one of the most difficult operations ever undertaken by our country ”.

He pledged to increase the availability of vaccines in pharmacies, build mobile clinics to obtain vaccines in underserved rural and urban communities, and encourage states to expand vaccine eligibility to people 65 and over. more. Mr Biden also pledged to make racial equity a priority in the fight against a virus that has disproportionately infected and killed people of color.

“You have my word,” he said, “we’ll handle the hell of this operation.”

But the president-elect’s expansive vision collides with a sobering reality: With just two federally licensed vaccines, supplies will be scarce over the next few months, frustrating some state and local health officials who hoped that Releasing a federal stockpile of vaccine doses announced this week could alleviate this shortage.

Mr Biden is clearly ready to assert a role for the federal government that President Trump has refused to embrace, using the crisis to rebuild the country’s public health services and Washington’s money to hire a new work force from health and deploy the National Guard. But many of its bold promises will be difficult to fulfill.

Even if Mr Biden invokes the Korean War-era Defense Production Act, it may take some time to ease vaccine shortages. The law has already been invoked, with an important but limited effect. His promises to build federally backed mass vaccination sites and develop new programs to serve people at high risk, including people with developmental disabilities and those in prison, will only work if there is. vaccines to be administered.

“This does not mean that everyone in this group will be vaccinated immediately, because the supply is not where it needs to be,” conceded Biden. But as more doses become available, he promised, “We will reach more people who need it.”

The vaccine distribution plan comes a day after Mr Biden proposed a $ 1.9 trillion bailout to tackle the economic downturn and the Covid-19 crisis, including a ‘national vaccination program’ of $ 20 billion. The president-elect has stated on several occasions that he intends to get “100 million Covid vaccines into the arms of the American people” by his 100th day in office.

Hurry up. With the death toll now reaching nearly 4,000 per day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sounded the alarm on Friday over a rapidly spreading and much more contagious variant of the coronavirus which is expected to become the main source of infection in the United States by March, which could fuel a new wave of cases and deaths.

“I think we are going to see, in six to eight weeks, major transmission in this country as we see in England,” Dr Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and member of Mr Biden’s coronavirus advisory committee. “If we can set up immunization clinics faster and more efficiently, how many lives are we saving?”

In some ways, Mr Biden’s plan echoes that outlined this week by Mr Trump’s Health Secretary Alex M. Azar II, who urged states to vaccinate those 65 and over. The Trump administration has also pledged to employ pharmacies to administer injections and to invoke the Defense Production Act if necessary.

When Mr Azar announced on Tuesday that the federal government was releasing a stockpile of vaccine doses, some state health officials expected to get more in their weekly shipments to help meet growing demand as the pandemic was getting out of hand.

But now states are faced with a harsh reality. This stock consisted only of vaccines intended for booster injections for people who had already received a first dose. This means that releasing this pool will not extend vaccinations to a new group of people. Federal officials have said second doses will be given priority in weekly shipments so everyone can receive a reminder.

Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, Democrat, posted on Twitter that she had received “disturbing news” Thursday evening: “States will not receive increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week because there is no federal reserve of doses.” She added: “I am shocked and dismayed that they set an expectation that they could not live up to, with consequences so dire.”

A senior administration official said on Friday that the government expects the two vaccine-producing companies, Moderna and Pfizer, to deliver eight million to 12 million doses of vaccine per week to the public in the coming weeks – shipments which will then be divided among those who receive. their first and second shots. The two companies have made deals with the federal government to deliver a total of 200 million doses to the United States – or enough to fully immunize 100 million people – by the end of March.

The European Union is also grappling with shortages, as Pfizer plans to halt production of its vaccine for weeks as it upgrades its manufacturing facility in Puurs, Belgium, to meet its goal of producing two billion doses this year – an increase from its target of 1.3 billion. This decision will reduce deliveries to EU member states as well as other countries.

The plan Mr Biden rolled out on Friday is part of a larger effort to use the current crisis to rebuild the country’s crumbling public health infrastructure – long a goal of Democrats on Capitol Hill. As part of his stimulus package, he also proposed to increase federal funding for community health centers and called for a new “public health jobs program” that would fund 100,000 public health workers so that ‘they engage in vaccine awareness and contact tracing.

“The details have yet to be worked out, but it really is a critical recognition that state and local health agencies need to be strengthened in a way they haven’t been in decades,” said Dr Osterholm.

But Dr Marcus Plescia, the chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territory Health Officials, has expressed caution over the idea and urged Mr Biden to consult with members of his group before creating a new one. body of public health workers.

“We would really like to see him bring a few more people with some field experience into his team,” said Dr Plescia. “One of the things about a federal employment body is how do these people interact with state health departments? You really need to think about it. “

Mr Biden’s attempt to improve public health infrastructure is a reminder of the approach he and President Barack Obama took with the recession-ravaged economy they inherited in 2009, when Mr Biden was the new one. vice-president. Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff at the time, said then that a serious crisis should never be “wasted” because it could provide “the opportunity to do things you think you cannot do. before ”.

In an interview Friday, Mr. Emanuel, who went on to serve two terms as mayor of Chicago, praised Mr. Biden for his plans to invest in such clinics – also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers, or FQHC. .

“The FQHC is singularly the best preventative health care for hard-to-reach communities,” said Mr. Emanuel, adding that “what’s great about this investment the president-elect is making is that he is throwing away the bases ”of a strong public health response to future crises.

Mr. Biden has long committed to a much more aggressive federal response than Mr. Trump’s leave-it-it-yourself approach.

Also on Friday, Mr. Biden’s team announced plans to phase out Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s fast-track vaccination initiative. Dr David A. Kessler, former head of the Food and Drug Administration who advised Mr Biden on the pandemic, will lead the new administration’s efforts to accelerate the development and manufacture of the Covid-19 vaccines.

“OWS is the name of the Trump team for their program,” Jennifer Psaki, spokesperson for Mr. Biden, wrote on Twitter, using the initials of the program. “We are putting in place a new structure, which will have a different name from OWS.”

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Jamie Raskin: impeachment official leads campaign to overthrow Trump

WASHINGTON – Representative Jamie Raskin began drafting the article of impeachment against President Trump in the hours following the violent mob attack on the Capitol.

“We don’t have a minute to lose,” he told the House on Wednesday. “He represents a clear and present danger for the people.”

Mr. Raskin, 58, a former American University constitutional law professor who also served as a senator from Maryland, won the 2016 congressional election after a costly and hard-fought nine-time primary in his heavily Democratic district of the suburb of Washington. . A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, he is passionate about the Constitution and American history.

President Nancy Pelosi has named him chief impeachment officer, meaning he will be the lead prosecutor in a Senate trial against Mr. Trump.

“We must create a dynamic of action in which all our colleagues are obliged to confront their conscience about the permission they have given the President to trample all the principles and values ​​of our Constitution,” he said. he stated in an interview this week. .

In many ways, Mr. Raskin was made for this moment; he has been engaged in progressive politics since he was little, learning at the knees of his father, Marcus Raskin, a well-known anti-war activist and liberal intellectual. But as he assumes the important role of senior prosecutor, he also faces a devastating family tragedy: the loss of his son, Tommy, 25, and a Harvard Law student, to suicide on New Years Eve. .

“Even in this darkest moment, he has in no way diminished what he sees as his responsibility as a congressman to defend our democracy,” said Rep. David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island and the one of Mr. Raskin’s closest friends in the Capitol. “None of us who know Jamie well are surprised.”

Beloved on both sides of the political aisle, Mr. Raskin is a member of Ms. Pelosi’s unofficial “kitchen cabinet” and sits on both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Rules Committee, the powerful group of 13 members who defines the conditions debate in the House.

In addition to drafting the article of impeachment, he also drafted the resolution, passed by the House on Tuesday night, calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip Mr. Trump of his powers. He likes to quote Thomas Paine, the character from the War of Independence for which his son was named: “Times have found us.

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Grieving lawmaker Jamie Raskin leads campaign to impeach Trump

The long story, which Mr. Raskin, who has written two books on Supreme Court cases, intends to deliver to the House on Wednesday, begins as follows: “We almost experienced a coup in America. It was like a coup attempt shrouded in a violent riot shrouded in cosmetic protests outside.

He continued, “And the president gave all kinds of help, comfort and exhortation to the crowd. It’s intolerable. It takes us in a deeply dangerous direction as a society. America is a country built on common sense. And we must use our common sense now to recognize a mortal danger to our people, our Congress, our leaders and the entire nation. This president is a clear and present danger for our country.

Mr. Raskin, 58, is an instantly recognizable figure on Capitol Hill; he was once described as looking like a mad scientist, although he started straightening his hair after that. He has an infectious enthusiasm for the Constitution and American history. He has been steeped in liberal activism since he was little.

His father, Marcus Raskin, who died in 2017, was an aide to President John F. Kennedy and a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War. In 1970, the elder Mr. Raskin received part of the Pentagon Papers, the classified study of American decision-making in Vietnam, from its author, Daniel Ellsberg, and helped bring them to New York reporter Neil Sheehan. Times.

The younger Mr. Raskin keeps a 1964 Washington Post clipping with a photo of him as a 2-year-old holding a sign at a protest. At the age of 6, his father took him to the first Freedom Seder, a Passover meal that brought together Jews and blacks a year after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thomas Bloom Raskin, named after Revolutionary War character Thomas Paine, was an heir to this legacy. He was the only son and second child of Mr. Raskin and his wife, Sarah Bloom Raskin, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Barack Obama and a former member of the Federal Reserve. They also have two daughters, Tabitha, 23, and Hannah, 28.

Days after Tommy’s death, his parents released an extraordinary and heartbreaking statement and photos of their son. He started his life as “a crazed boy with curly hair of striking beauty, beaming with laughter and charm”, they wrote, who became “an anti-war activist, a self-taught moral philosopher and a humanist libertarian progressive”.

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Michael Madigan, the wily and venerable leader of a dynasty, suspends his campaign to retain the presidency of Illinois House.

Michael Madigan, the Democratic power broker who served as chairman of the Illinois House of Representatives for nearly four decades, failed to get the votes needed to stay in power – a reminder that Washington is not alone capital plagued by post-electoral tumult.

Mr Madigan, known as the “Velvet Hammer” for his laconic backstage brawls, has spent the past few weeks trying to find the 60 votes needed to keep his job, after facing allegations that he was reportedly investigated into a patronage scandal involving an electric utility company. , ComEd.

As Washington grapples with the fallout from Wednesday’s shocking riot on Capitol Hill, smaller but nonetheless significant developments have occurred in state capitals, including Springfield, where Mr. Madigan has struggled to hold onto power. ; Albany, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out his plan to get the state through the fiscal crisis caused by the pandemic; and Lansing, where Michigan officials have girded themselves for another heart-wrenching political fight after banning handguns from the state capital compound.

Mr. Madigan told reporters on Monday he was suspending – but not stepping down – from his presidential campaign, a move that could mark the end of Illinois’ longest political dynasty since the Daleys left.

“I suspended my campaign for the presidency,” Madigan, 78, said in a statement. “I have always put the best interests of the House Dem Caucus and our members first. The House Democratic caucus can work to find someone other than me to get 60 votes for the president.

Lawmakers returned earlier this month for a lame legislative session. On Sunday, Mr. Madigan won the support of 51 of 73 Democrats in the House, with Representative Ann Williams of Chicago at 18 and Representative Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego in three votes, with one voting member present.

Many opponents of Mr Madigan have said they will never vote for him, creating a deadlock and essentially turning Sunday’s result into a vote of no confidence.

This gives his opponents time to tinker with the 60 needed to declare a winner.

What if they can’t stay an open question.

Some longtime Madigan observers, including Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune, the dean of the Springfield press corps, believe the suspension – while indicating his predicament – was another cunning move by Madigan, meant to give him some time to build support.

“By saying it’s ‘not a withdrawal,’ Madigan is basically trying to smoke a caucus for someone who can get 60 votes,” Mr Pearson wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Mr. Madigan has served as Speaker of the Illinois House since 1983, with a two-year hiatus in the mid-1990s when Republicans took control of the chamber.

Mr Madigan’s daughter Lisa served as state attorney general from 2003 to 2019 and was long seen as a potential candidate for the Senate and governor before stepping down from politics.

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Michael Madigan, the wily and venerable leader of a dynasty, suspends his campaign to retain the presidency of Illinois House.

Michael Madigan, the Democratic power broker who served as chairman of the Illinois House of Representatives for nearly four decades, failed to get the votes needed to stay in power – a reminder that Washington is not alone capital plagued by post-electoral tumult.

Mr Madigan, known as the “Velvet Hammer” for his laconic backstage brawls, has spent the past few weeks trying to find the 60 votes needed to keep his job, after facing allegations that he was reportedly investigated into a patronage scandal involving an electric utility company. , ComEd.

As Washington grapples with the fallout from Wednesday’s shocking riot on Capitol Hill, smaller but nonetheless significant developments have occurred in state capitals, including Springfield, where Mr. Madigan has struggled to hold onto power. ; Albany, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out his plan to get the state through the fiscal crisis caused by the pandemic; and Lansing, where Michigan officials have girded themselves for another heart-wrenching political fight after banning handguns from the state capital compound.

Mr. Madigan told reporters on Monday he was suspending – but not stepping down – from his presidential campaign, a move that could mark the end of Illinois’ longest political dynasty since the Daleys left.

“I suspended my campaign for the presidency,” Madigan, 78, said in a statement. “I have always put the best interests of the House Dem Caucus and our members first. The House Democratic caucus can work to find someone other than me to get 60 votes for the president.

Lawmakers returned earlier this month for a lame legislative session. On Sunday, Mr. Madigan won the support of 51 of 73 Democrats in the House, with Representative Ann Williams of Chicago at 18 and Representative Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego in three votes, with one voting member present.

Many opponents of Mr Madigan have said they will never vote for him, creating a deadlock and essentially turning Sunday’s result into a vote of no confidence.

This gives his opponents time to tinker with the 60 needed to declare a winner.

What if they can’t stay an open question.

Some longtime Madigan observers, including Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune, the dean of the Springfield press corps, believe the suspension – while indicating his predicament – was another cunning move by Madigan, meant to give him some time to build support.

“By saying it’s ‘not a withdrawal,’ Madigan is basically trying to smoke a caucus for someone who can get 60 votes,” Mr Pearson wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Mr. Madigan has served as Speaker of the Illinois House since 1983, with a two-year hiatus in the mid-1990s when Republicans took control of the chamber.

Mr Madigan’s daughter Lisa served as state attorney general from 2003 to 2019 and was long seen as a potential candidate for the Senate and governor before stepping down from politics.