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Elections Briefing, April 1, 2021: Gaetz, Pennsylvania, Israel

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Elections Briefing 4-1-21 Gaetz Pennsylvania Israel

No April Fools here on the Thursday edition of the Elections Briefing, unless you consider certain politicians fools. That’s for you to be the judge.

US Election News

Gaetz Under Investigation for Alleged Relationship With Minor

We stayed away from this one yesterday, but it appears to be too much to ignore as there is significant smoke around Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). He has been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor, 17 years old, and for what it’s worth, Gaetz now claims he is a victim of an extortion plot. Gaetz is denying all allegations leveled against him and has said that there is no such underage person that he knows.1

Rumors passed around the internet earlier in the week that Gaetz, one of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies, was considering leaving Congress to take a job with Newsmax, and then this report hit. If he were to leave the House of Representatives, his seat, the 1st District of Florida, is military-heavy and very red. Donald Trump carried the district with 66 percent of the vote in 2020.

Pennsylvania Legislation to Close Elections Funding Loophole

The latest in the state legislative push to reform American elections comes from Pennsylvania. A trio of Republican legislators, Jim Struzzi, Clint Owlett, and Eric Nelson, have proposed a bill that would shut off private, outside funding of elections at the county level. Any money would have to go directly to the Commonwealth and there would need to be a legal guarantee of equal distribution of funds.2 This has a long way to go before it becomes law.

Local Wyoming GOP Member Turns on State GOP

Here’s a bizarre intra-party mess from the Equality State of Wyoming. Local Republican activist Jon Conrad has filed a complaint against the Wyoming State GOP for meddling in a county GOP race. Specifically, the race they meddled in was his in Uinta County, and he alleges that they participated in allowing ineligible members of the county party to vote. Of course, they voted against him, causing him to lose his race for county chairman.3

Just because Republicans win a lot of elections in Wyoming does not mean they are all one, big, happy family.

International Election News

Israeli President Drawing Criticism For Role In Forming Government

Following the fourth Israeli election in two years – another inconclusive one, we might add – President Reuven Rivlin said he would take a more deliberate approach in trying to foster a government. He, like most other Israelis, has little desire to see a fifth election sometime this year. Rivlin is getting to the point where he will soon talk to party leaders and see who, if anyone, can cobble together a coalition.

Now, Israel’s president is calling on various parties who may not ordinarily be aligned to try to work together in the national interest. This is not sitting well with Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu’s party and the largest in the new Knesset. Some Likud MKs say Rivlin is potentially going to buck tradition and ask Yesh Atid, the leader of the second-largest party, to form a government. The leader of the largest party, in this case Likud and Netanyahu, would normally be asked to form a new administration without any hesitation. These, however, are not ordinary times, but MKs in both Likud and on the right are decrying what they call “interference” by Rivlin, who would not ordinarily involve himself in the formation of a coalition.4

New South Wales MP Resigns After Rape Allegation

There is one fewer member of the New South Wales Parliament today as Michael Johnsen, the Nationals MP from Upper Hunter since 2015, has resigned. He stands accused of raping a sex worker in 2019. Johnsen, who denies everything, was booted from the Nationals last week as the allegations came to light.5

This seat has belonged to the Nationals since 1932, back when they were the Country Party. However, Johnson held the seat in 2019 on a slim 2.56 percent margin.

Election Calendar

5 days until the Greenland general election.
11 days until the Yukon territorial election.
23 days until the Louisiana-02 special runoff.
30 days until the Texas-06 special jungle primary and the Tasmania state election.

Today’s Further Reading

  1. Caroline Linton, “Matt Gaetz denies relationship with a 17-year-old and says he’s a victim of attempted extortion,” CBS News, 31 March 2021.
  2. Staff, “Struzzi Co-Authors Bill to Restrict Outside Money in Elections,” Indiana, PA WCCS AM1160 & 101.1FM, 31 March 2021.
  3. Nick Reynolds, “Republicans accuse Wyoming GOP of election fraud,” WyoFile, 30 March 2021.
  4. Jonathan Lis, “Likud Blasts President for ‘Meddling’ in Elections as He Mulls Whether to Let Netanyahu Form Government,” Haaretz, 31 March 2021.
  5. Staff, “NSW Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen resigns after being accused of rape,” ABC News, 30 March 2021.

Now For Your Commentary

United States Elections

2021 US House Special Elections Pages

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