political drama
July 10, 2019

President Trump was apparently only concerned about losing one supporter after his Access Hollywood tape leaked.

Sure, then-House Speaker Paul Ryan said he couldn't "defend" then-candidate Trump after the horrendous audio was published, and a slew of other GOP lawmakers withdrew their support. But Vice President Mike Pence, then just Trump's running mate, worried Trump by "cutting himself off from the outside world" for days — and spent that time seriously considering dropping his name from the ticket altogether, Politico's Tim Alberta reports for his forthcoming book American Carnage.

A recording of Trump making lewd comments about women aired just a month before Election Day 2016 and just two days before the second presidential debate, sending Trump's team into a frenzy to clean up the mess. Ryan promptly disinvited Trump from a Wisconsin political rally, and, as Alberta reports, asked then-RNC Chair Reince Priebus "how can you get him out of the race?" Priebus knew that wasn't possible, but he still reportedly met with Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to discuss swapping Trump and Pence on the GOP ticket.

Trump, meanwhile, largely only felt regret for "disappointing the Pences" with his remarks, Alberta writes. Pence "bunkered down" in Indiana with his wife, whom he reportedly calls "Mother," after hearing the news, and told his advisers he "wasn't sure he could continue with the campaign," Alberta continues. Trump later called Pence to explain the situation, and upon hanging up, reportedly said "Mother is not going to like this."

Karen Pence didn't, telling her husband "she would no longer appear in public if he carried on as Trump's running mate," Alberta writes. Read more at Politico. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 9, 2018

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) announced on Thursday night he will recuse himself from vote-counting in the state's GOP gubernatorial primary.

Kobach ran in the primary against incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer (R), and only 91 votes separate the two. Colyer released a letter on Thursday night, calling on Kobach to recuse himself after several counties notified him that the secretary of state's website has inaccurate vote tallies. "We've received countless reports that voters experienced issues when they voted on Tuesday," Colyer campaign spokesman Kendall Marr told the Kansas City Star. "Many Colyer voters had difficulties finding his name on the ballot, were forced to vote on provisional ballots, or were turned away outright for unknown reasons."

Kobach said on Wednesday night he wouldn't recuse himself, and he told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Thursday "there's really no point" in stepping aside, "because the secretary of state actually has no role in the counting of provisional ballots or any recount. But I said if my opponent wishes me to, I'd be happy to." The move, he added, is "purely symbolic." Catherine Garcia

November 22, 2016

The saga that is the North Carolina gubernatorial race continues, with Democrat Roy Cooper naming a transition team and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's (R) team saying Cooper is jumping the gun.

Cooper, the state attorney general, leads McCrory by 6,600 votes, but McCrory is questioning ballots cast in more than half of North Carolina's 100 counties, The Charlotte Observer reports. Nearly two weeks after Election Day, Democrats are urging McCrory to bow out gracefully; state Rep. Tricia Cotham (D) told reporters: "I understand it's hard to lose. McCrory needs to be a statesman and do what the voters wanted and concede this race."

McCrory's team is accusing Cooper of "circumventing the electoral process." Spokesman Ricky Diaz said an elections board found that 339 felons voted, adding that "instead of insulting North Carolina voters, we intend to let the process work as it should to ensure that every legal vote is counted properly." Should the margin remain 10,000 or under, an automatic recount will be triggered, and either candidate could then appeal a "contested" election to the General Assembly, controlled by Republicans. The new governor will take office Jan. 1, 2017. Catherine Garcia

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