Atlanta leaders gracious in defeat after failed DNC bid
“Even without the convention, Atlanta will fight to keep Georgia blue and expand the Democratic map in the South” the city’s mayor said after Chicago was selected to host next year’s nominating event.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Atlanta elected officials took the high road on Tuesday after the Democratic National Committee announced it selected Chicago as the host of the party’s nominating convention next year.
The deep-blue Georgia state capital has been key in flipping Georgia for President Joe Biden in 2020 and giving Democrats control of the US Senate with the election of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock the following January. Warnock’s reelection expanded Senate Democrats’ majority by one seat last December. And Atlanta’s reputation as a creative and cultural hub paired with its emergence as a destination for billion-dollar tech startups has kept the city on the map.
But the Democratic National Committee went with Chicago instead, a move that reinforces the importance of the midwest’s “blue wall” — a region of states including Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota that were crucial to President Biden’s 2020 election and the Democrats’ overperformance in the 2022 midterms.
“Atlanta made a strong bid and I’m disappointed we weren’t chosen, but I can’t wait to get to #2024DNC in Chicago!” Warnock said in a tweet. “The South is ready to get to work to re-elect [Joe Biden], [Kamala Harris] and change-makers up [and] down the ballot. We’re going to keep making #GoodTrouble for our country.”
Days after Warnock’s December runoff election, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens told Supercreator that Atlanta had proven itself as a city that everyone in the nation has to watch after MSNBC host Rachel Maddow described Atlanta as a “city [that] is a pulsing, throbbing heart of the country in terms of culture and ideas.”
“We are the center of a lot of things from the history of civil rights, the bedrock of the civil rights movement, to now being right in the throes of what makes good decisions in terms of how our country is governed,” Dickens said. “I’m glad that the nation got to see Atlanta. And it also shows that when Democrats make investments in Georgia, good things happen. We had to make a significant amount of investments to get that result that we had last [week].”
In a statement after the DNC’s decision, Dickens said Atlanta fought hard for the opportunity to showcase its world-class facilities and highlight the civic culture that makes the city special, one he said represents the future of the Democratic Party.
“Georgia is the battleground that will decide the 2024 election and Atlanta is the city that will deliver Democrats up and down the ballot,” Dickens added. “Even without the convention, Atlanta will fight to keep Georgia blue and expand the Democratic map in the South.”
Chicago is also expected to help Democrats showcase their investments in infrastructure and manufacturing and demonstrate its leadership on issues like gun violence as a city as the nation grapples with a worsening gun violence crisis. (Illinois has an assault weapons ban.)
“We look forward to the DNC’s convention where their radical agenda will be on full display for the world to see,” Ronna McDaniel, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told CNN after the DNC’s announcement. “Voters will soundly reject whichever out-of-touch liberal the Democrats nominate in Chicago.” (Republicans will hold their national convention in Milwaukee next year.)
But a Democratic aide from Atlanta called the DNC’s decision a “shortsighted decision based on a shortfall of hotel suites instead of a place that shows how we can change the future for a better democracy.”
However, an Atlanta-based creator told Supercreator that a Chicago convention offers Democrats an opportunity to reclaim the narrative around a city that conservatives have demonized as a crime-ridden cesspool. It also could help fortify support with suburban voters, whom Republicans have targeted in recent years with mixed results.
“Georgia has been on the national clock since 2018,” the creator said. “So not pouring millions more into a state a little too overexposed was a smart move.”
As for Chicagoans, the celebration is already on.
“This is the first step to Democrats winning the midwest,” a former Democratic aide from Chicago said in a text to Supercreator.
Then there’s perhaps the city’s most famous son: Barack Obama, who of course is thrilled about the news.
“There’s no place like Chicago!” the former president said. “Michelle and I are thrilled to have the Democratic National Convention return to our hometown next year.”
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IN THE KNOW
Tennessee governor takes action on gun violence, calls on state lawmakers to do more
Republican Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee on Tuesday signed an executive order to strengthen the state’s background check system a little over two weeks after three nine-year-old students and three adults were killed in a school shooting in Nashville.
The order requires state officials to enter criminal history and court mental health information within 72 hours to the Tennessee Instant Check System or supply that information to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Additionally, it calls on the TBI to examine the current process to buy firearms and issue a report within 60 days.
Lee also called on the state’s General Assembly to pass a red flag law that would empower authorities to temporarily seize firearms from people who are found to be dangers to themselves or others although it’s unclear if the Assembly will put a bill on the floor and if the Republican supermajority would pass it.
The Assembly last week expelled two Black members who with a white colleague led students in a demonstration for stronger gun violence prevention measures. The move has backfired up to now as one of the members, Justin Jones, was reappointed to his seat on Monday without missing a day of session, and the other (Justin Pearson) is expected to receive a vote to return to his seat this afternoon.
Biden calls Gerskovich family en route to Ireland
A day following the State Department’s announcement that it designated Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich as a wrongful detainee after he was arrested in Russia on erroneous charges of espionage two weeks ago, the White House announced President Biden spoke with Gershkovich’s family.
Biden told reporters on Tuesday as he was leaving the White House to travel to Ireland that he tried to reach the family on Monday but was unable to connect with them. He said he would try again on from Air Force One.
“We’re making it real clear that it’s totally illegal what’s happening,” the president added.
Gershkovich’s family released a statement through the WSJ thanking Biden for his call and assurances that the US government is doing everything in its power to bring him home as quickly as possible.
“There is a hole in our hearts and in our family that won’t be filled until we are reunited,” the statement continued. “We are grateful for the outpouring of support from his colleagues, friends and everyone standing with Evan and advocating for his immediate release.”
Tester hauls in $5M in Q1 of Senate reelect bid
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana announced his campaign raised $5 million in the first quarter as he fights for reelection in a state critical to Senate Democrats hopes of maintaining control of the upper chamber in a cycle that has them defending 23 seats to the Republicans’ 10.
“I’m humbled by the enormous support our campaign has received from hardworking Montanans across the state,” Tester said in a tweet. “This grassroots effort — from Miles City to Dillon — is what this campaign is about: defending Montana values.”
Tester is the last statewide Democrat in Montana, a state former president Donald Trump won in 2016 and 2020, and will need ample resources to stave off deep investments from the GOP, which views the Treasure State as a viable pickup opportunity.
Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia are the other two incumbents in states Trump won in ’16 and ’20. Brown has already announced his reelection campaign. Manchin has repeatedly said he won’t announce his plans until the end of the year.
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EYE ON THE WORLD
Graham meets with MBS after promising not to in ’18
Republican Sen Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Tuesday announced he met with Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia
The meeting is an about-face from previous comments Graham said about MBS in 2018, the year Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist for The Washington Post was assassinated by agents of the Saudi government allegedly on orders from the crown prince.
“I’m not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as this guy is in charge,” the senator said at the time. “I’m gonna sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”
Graham said in a Twitter thread that the opportunity to enhance the US-Saudi relationship and the reforms taking place in the country are real and that he looked forward to working with the administration and members of Congress to find opportunities to take the relationship to the next level, which would generate economic benefits for both countries and bring stability to the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia earlier this month announced a decision to cut oil production by about one million barrels per day and raise prices to around $85 per barrel — a move that was widely viewed as a snub to the Biden administration, which is looking to tamp inflation and keep gas prices from spiking like they did last year.
The White House downplayed the decision in the days after and National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby called Saudi Arabia a decades-long strategic partner.
“We don’t always see eye to eye on everything, but on many things that are of mutual concern to us we are finding ways to work together,” Kirby said. “We’re looking ahead, we’re focused on on the future here and in working to address common security challenges that we have with Saudi Arabia.”
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of Congressional Democrats who signed onto an amicus brief to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Biden administration’s appeal of federal district court judge Matthew Kacymaryk’s ruling to suspend the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, one of two drugs used for medication abortion.
Every Senate Democrat except for Joe Manchin of West Virginia signed the brief along with Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona while 190 of 213 House Democrats signed.
ICYMI: “Democrats plan narrow path forward after latest abortion setback” … “Why abortion rights advocates fear birth control could be next”
All times Eastern:
President Biden this morning met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom (6:15 a.m.). He will speak on the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and US support for Northern Ireland’s economic potential (8 a.m.) before traveling from Belfast, Northern Ireland (9:20 a.m.) to Dublin, Ireland. Once in Dublin (10 a.m.), the president will depart (10:50 a.m.) to travel to County Louth, Ireland (11:15 a.m.) to visit Kilwirra Cemetary (11:50 a.m.), tour Carlingford Castle (12:20 p.m.), and visit Dundalk, Ireland and participate in a community gathering (1:45 p.m.). Biden will depart County Louth (4:05 p.m.) to return to Dublin (4:30 p.m.).
Vice President Harris will meet with the Reproductive Health Care Access task force in the Roosevelt Room (2:45 p.m.).
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden this morning will be a special guest on Live with Kelly and Ryan before returning back to Washington, DC.
The House and Senate are out.
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