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But Parson’s coronavirus diagnosis has ensured that the pandemic will be the central issue as he fights for another term against a fierce critic of his public health policies. And while the 19-point edge Trump racked up in Missouri in 2016 gives Parson a buffer that the president doesn’t enjoy against former Vice President Joe Biden, the Missouri Republican is still facing a stiff, well-funded challenge from State Auditor Nicole Galloway, the only Democrat in statewide elected office and a fierce critic of Parson’s coronavirus response.

Galloway’s latest ad this week told voters “Missouri is in the ‘red zone’” for increasing coronavirus cases and savaged the incumbent for his opposition to Medicaid expansion. Back in August, Missouri voters passed Medicaid expansion, so the next governor will be responsible for helping implement it.

“Parson has fundamentally lacked leadership in his response out of political fear that his supporters are listening to Trump,” said Roy Temple, a veteran Democratic strategist and former state party chair. “He’s been very reticent to do anything … and in some ways he has been even less aggressive than Trump — as shocking as it is for me to say that out loud.”

But with Parson’s diagnosis coming one week ahead of Trump’s, Missouri Republicans and veteran GOP strategists say the governor’s handling of his own illness could ultimately help him with voters — and could even serve as a model for Trump to gain a leg up in his reelection campaign after lagging behind Biden in recent national and battleground-state polls.

“This is an era where this is no textbook for how to handle any of this — the pandemic, getting diagnosed in the middle of a campaign,” said John Hancock, chair of the pro-Parson Uniting Missouri PAC and former state GOP chair.

“But the governor has created a pretty great playbook in everyday reassuring the people of Missouri that he’s weathering this well. To the extent the president can follow what Mike Parson did in being public and transparent, he should,” Hancock added.

Parson has posted videos on his Facebook page almost daily to offer updates on how he’s feeling while he quarantines at the governor’s mansion. He’s set to end quarantine on Saturday and plans to get back to his official and campaign duties next week. A debate between Parson and Galloway has been rescheduled for next Friday.

Parson’s campaign manager, Steele Shippy, said the pandemic has been and will remain a central part of the campaign, citing the governor’s push for schools to reopen, the recovery of the state economy and public health.

Galloway’s campaign, for its part, argued that Parson is now focusing more on the virus after months of claiming victory, like Trump, in his handling of the pandemic while cases kept growing. “With Parson, it often feels like sometimes he is paying more attention to the politics of his own party than what is necessary to defeat the virus,” said Galloway spokesman Kevin Donohue.

In the past seven days, Missouri has seen more than 9,300 new cases, placing it behind only six other states with the highest

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total number of new cases. However, deaths are down — with a 53 percent decrease in the number of deaths over the past seven days compared to the previous seven days before that, according to the latest figures from Missouri’s Department of Department of Health and Senior Services.

Parson, who took office in 2018 following the resignation of embattled Gov. Eric Greitens, has long refused to issue a statewide order for face coverings, saying it’s up to individual citizens and local officials to decide. In July, he was photographed without a mask at a Missouri Cattlemen’s Association steak fry, where the Springfield News-Leader reported he told attendees: “You don’t need government to tell you to wear a dang mask. If you want to wear a dang mask, wear a mask.”

Like Trump, he’s also made headlines this year for his messaging on the pandemic, which has at times been regarded as insensitive or off-base. In June, Parson said he did not feel guilty about an uptick in cases that followed his decision to reopen the state. One Democratic strategist noted how the comment was reminiscent of when Trump in March said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the United States’ lack of widespread testing.

In July, Parson met with Trump in Washington to press for school reopening. There, he acknowledged the president’s role in pressuring governors to reopen states and schools.

“I will tell you this: On a few phone calls I’ve had with him, he can put a little pressure on you if he tells you — if he decides to do that. … So sometimes, we all need a little push to get things going,” Parson said at the meeting with Trump.

Later that month, he made national headlines for saying on a St. Louis radio show that children would get coronavirus in school. “They’re going to go home, and they’re going to get over it,” he said.

Still, Parson is in a better position in the polls in Missouri than Trump is nationally. In polls, Parson has consistently led Galloway, though Democrats say Biden’s national momentum could help them close the gap, especially in some of the traditionally Republican suburbs around St. Louis, where Trump and the GOP are increasingly unpopular. Hancock, the Parson ally running his super PAC, pushed back on Biden’s influence in Missouri as the Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign has not been active in the state.

But Temple, the former Democratic chair, said it’ll ultimately depend on Parson, who was not previously elected into the governorship, and Galloway’s ability to build a profile — not Trump and Biden — in the final weeks.

“This is more of a jump ball. And the state — like much of the nation with Trump — is divided in reactions to them,” Temple said.


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Pierre ‘Pete’ du Pont IV dies; ran for president in 1988

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“I was born with a well-known name and genuine opportunity. I hope I have lived up to both,” du Pont said in announcing his longshot presidential bid in September 1986.

As a presidential candidate, du Pont attracted attention for staking out controversial positions on what he hoped would reverberate with voters as “damn right” issues. They included random drug testing for high school students, school vouchers, replacing welfare with work, ending farm subsidies, and allowing workers to invest in individual retirement accounts as an alternative to Social Security.

Some of those ideas have since become more mainstream.

He won the endorsement of New Hampshire’s largest newspaper but failed to gain traction among voters. He ended his campaign after finishing next-to-last in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Afterward, du Pont remained engaged in politics. He frequently wrote opinion pieces for publications such as the Wall Street Journal and co-founded the online public policy journal IntellectualCapital.com. He also served as chairman of Hudson Institute, the National Review Institute and the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonpartisan public policy research organization.

Pierre du Pont IV was born Jan. 22, 1935, in Delaware. After attending Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, he graduated from Princeton University in 1956 with an engineering degree. Following a four-year stint in the Navy, he obtained a law degree from Harvard University in 1963.

He joined the Du Pont Company, where he held several positions, resigning as a quality control supervisor in 1968 to begin his political career.

After running unopposed for a state House seat in 1968, he immediately set his sights on Congress, running as a fiscal conservative and winning the first of three terms in 1970.

Elected governor in 1976, du Pont fought successfully to restore financial integrity to a state he had declared “bankrupt” shortly after his inauguration. He presided over two income tax cuts; constitutional amendments restricting state spending and requiring three-fifths votes in the legislature to raise taxes; and establishment of an independent revenue forecasting panel.

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After a rocky start with Democratic legislators, including an embarrassing override of a 1977 budget veto, du Pont forged successful relationships with lawmakers from both parties to tackle thorny issues including prison overcrowding and corruption and school desegregation. He was re-elected in a landslide in 1980, winning a record 71 percent of the vote and becoming the first two-term governor in Delaware in 20 years.

In his second term, du Pont signed landmark legislation that loosened Delaware’s banking laws, including removing the cap on interest rates that banks could charge customers. The Financial Center Development Act made Delaware a haven for some of the country’s largest credit card issuers.

Under du Pont’s leadership, Delaware also established a nonprofit employment counseling and job placement program for Delaware high school seniors not bound for college. It served as the model for a national program adopted by several other states.

Prohibited by law from seeking a third term, du Pont briefly withdrew to the private sector, joining a Wilmington law firm in 1985. A year and a half later, he announced his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, becoming the first declared candidate in the 1988 campaign.

During an appearance at the Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington, where du Pont announced he was abandoning his presidential campaign, he praised an electoral process that gave a shot at the White House to a former small-state governor with unorthodox ideas.

“You’ve given me the opportunity of a lifetime. You listened, you considered and you chose. I could not have asked for any more,” du Pont said. “For in America, we do not promise that everyone wins, only that everyone gets a chance to try.”

Du Pont is survived by his wife of over 60 years, the former Elise R. Wood; a daughter and three sons; and 10 grandchildren.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a memorial service will be held at a later date, Perkins said.


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Larry Hogan decries ‘circular firing squad’ within GOP

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday the Republican Party experienced its “worst four years we’ve had, ever” under President Donald Trump, noting the party’s losses in both chambers of Congress and the White House.

“We’ve got to get back to winning elections again. And we have to be able to have a Republican Party that appeals to a broader group of people,” said Hogan, a Republican, on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “Successful politics is about addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division.”

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Hogan’s comments comes as Republicans deliberate on the future of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in the party’s House leadership, particularly over her repeated criticisms of Trump, which many Republicans view as breaking ranks and distracting from the party’s opposition to President Joe Biden. House Republicans are expected to strip Cheney of her role as conference chair and replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).


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Gov. Hogan pardoning 34 victims of racial lynching in Maryland

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Earlier this year, the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project and students at Loch Raven Technical Academy petitioned Hogan to issue the pardon for Cooper. After receiving the request, the Republican governor directed his chief legal counsel to review all of the available documentation of racial lynching in Maryland.

“Justice has not been done with respect to any of these extrajudicial killings, which violated fundamental rights to due process and equal protection of law,” according to a draft clemency document that Hogan is scheduled to sign.

Hogan and other state officials are scheduled to attend a ceremony in Towson, Maryland, next to the former jailhouse where Cooper was held. A historic marker will be unveiled at the site in a partnership with the Baltimore County Coalition of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, the Equal Justice Initiative and Baltimore County.

The sign says Cooper’s body was left hanging “so angry white residents and local train passengers could see his corpse.”

“Later, pieces of the rope were given away as souvenirs,” the sign s ays. “Howard’s mother, Henrietta, collected her child’s remains and buried him in an unmarked grave in Ruxton. No one was ever held accountable for her son’s lynching.”

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The ceremony is part of a continuing effort by the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, a group of 13 county chapters that is working to document the history of lynching in the state.

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In 2019, a marker in Annapolis, the state capital, commemorated the five known Black men who were hanged or fatally shot without trial in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County.

The Equal Justice Initiative has documented more than 6,500 racial lynchings in the country.

Will Schwarz, who is president of the memorial project, described the posthumous pardons as a powerful moment in acknowledging the truth — a critical step toward reconciliation. He said the history of racial terror lynching in the United States has been ignored for so long that most people don’t know the scale of the problem.

“We have a responsibility to try and dismantle that machine of white supremacy and this is a big piece of it, acknowledging the violation of civil rights and of due process that were a part of these awful lynchings,” Schwarz said.

There have been 40 documented lynching cases in Maryland, Schwarz said. In some of those cases, the victims were not yet arrested, so they were not part of the legal system and not eligible for the posthumous clemency approved Saturday by Hogan.

Two years ago, state lawmakers created the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is the first of its kind in the nation. The commission was formed to research lynchings and include its findings in a report.


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