Rebel GOP group calls on moderate Repubs in Pa., battleground states to vote Biden | Thursday Morning Coffee

May 28, 2020 7:16 am

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden would like to win Pennsylvania in 2020 (Capital-Star file)

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

The Lincoln Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group backed by the outspokenly critical spouse of a senior White House adviser, is targeting moderate Republicans in Pennsylvania and other 2020 battleground states to help vote President Donald Trump out of office in November.

During a virtual town hall in Michigan on Tuesday nightGeorge Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, said the group’s primary motivation is to get “people to vote for Donald Trump’s opponent [presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden],” our sibling site, the Michigan Advance, reports.

The group is headed by a number of former Republicans who have parted ways with Trump and his administration.

“The reason people might not show up to vote for Donald Trump is the same as the reasoning for Republicans and conservatives who could be persuaded to vote for Joe Biden,” Conway said. “And both outcomes, I think, are encouraged by us reminding people what they already know, which is all the reasons why Donald Trump is unfit, incompetent, lawless and the worst president in American history.”

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while flanked by Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the James Brady Briefing Room April 10, 2020 at the White House in Washington, DC. According to Johns Hopkins University, New York state has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country outside of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Conway was joined by Lincoln Project founder Ron SteslowExecutive Director Sarah Lenti and veteran GOP operative Jeff Timmer.

Timmer, a former Michigan GOP director who broke from the party over Trump, said that “supporting a Democrat goes against my DNA. … But now I realize a Democrat needs to have just one simple thing to win my vote. That’s called a heartbeat.”

Now the former Republicans are looking to flip the state that helped Trump win in 2016. Trump carried Pennsylvania by barely a percentage point in 2016, and lags Biden by an average of 6.5 percentage points in the most recent RealClear Politics polling average.

In addition to Pennsylvania and Michigan, the group is also focusing its efforts on Wisconsin, another key 2020 battleground state.

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
The Capitol was thrown into pandemonium on Wednesday night, after it was revealed that a sitting lawmaker, Rep. Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin, confirmed he’d tested positive for COVID-19, and another, Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, said he was in self-isolation after coming in contact with LewisStephen Caruso has the details.

Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday that he’d support moving the state’s primary mail-in ballot deadline to June 9, Pittsburgh Correspondent Kim Lyons reports. Wolf also set down his guidance for dining outside.

A week ahead of the primary, Gov. Tom Wolf endorsed Joe Biden, which you kinda would have thought had happened already.

Summer intern Julia Shanahan makes her debut this morning with a pair of stories. In the first, she crunches some campaign finance data in the 6-way Democratic primary for state auditor general. In the second, she drops in on a House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee meeting, where lawmakers gauged the pandemic’s impact on the Commonwealth’s farmers.

Correspondent Nick Field crunches the latest voter registration numbers to see where Democrats and Republicans lost support statewide ahead of the June 2 primary.

Despite the pandemic, President Donald Trump is planning a scaled-back July 4 bash on the National MallWashington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender reports.

On our very busy Commentary Page this morning, new opinion contributor Aryanna Hunter makes her debut in these pages, with some thoughts about how politicians take advantage of the military for political purposesMegan Jones Hoffman sat down with an expert to come up with some survival tips for staying sane in lockdown. And while we laud frontline heroes, Megan Malick says it’s important to remember that they’re human, too. And an advocate explains how legal aid programs can help families get back on their feet.

Spotlight PA has more on the outrage among state House Democrats, who said they weren’t told for a week about a Republican colleague who’d tested positive for COVID-19.
You can start eating and drinking outdoors in Pennsylvania’s yellow counties on June 5, the Post-Gazette reports.
PennLive takes a look at whether school students will have to wear masks to class this fall.
The Morning Call captures the public reaction to the State Police citing a Lehigh Valley gym owner who opened ahead of schedule.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:

Wilkes-Barre has canceled its July 4 celebrationthe Citizens-Voice reports.
WHYY-FM looks at how your local member of Congress is responding to the pandemic.
In a new ad, Democratic auditor general candidate Michael Lamb touts the support of Philly Mayor Jim Kenney, PoliticsPA reports. does a deep dive on the racial disparities in the pandemic.
Roll Call looks at how the pace of economic recovery will shape races in swing states.

What Goes On.
The House and Senate both gavel in at 11 a.m. today.
Time TBD: Daily COVID-19 briefing.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a long-standing favorite from Disclosure to get the day going. It’s ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’.

Thursday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
The Hockey News
 ranks the eight most interesting play-in series in the NHL’s revamped playoff system.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.