GOP governors receive higher grades than Democrats in report card on states' reopening

Nine states — eight of them run by Republican governors — received a grade of “A” on reopening their economies

Nine states — eight of them run by Republican governors — received a grade of “A” on reopening their economies in a report card Monday evaluating all 50 states’ efforts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Committee to Unleash Prosperity, in a study co-authored by conservative economist Stephen Moore, gave top grades to Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming. Only Colorado has a Democrat in charge, Gov. Jared Polis.

Four states received a failing grade of “F” — New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, plus the District of Columbia. All are run by Democrats; the earliest planned reopening among that group is Pennsylvania on Friday.

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican who got an “A,” said liberals’ criticism of GOP governors for putting profit over safety is “ridiculous.”

“All the decisions that we have made have been for our citizens safety and public health,” Mr. Kemp said in a conference call hosted by the committee. “I think we’re getting to the point in our country where the ill effects of people being out of work and people being on the verge of losing their business, losing their home — it’s hard to shelter in place if you don’t have a place to shelter. And that is what’s happening in America right now. In Georgia, people can’t pay their rent. They can’t make their car payment, they haven’t been able to make their credit card payment. And people do desperate things when they get desperate.”

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, also a Republican, said the suicide rate in his state rises 1.6% for every percentage point increase in the unemployment rate.

“We are protecting the health and lives of Oklahomans, first and foremost,” Mr. Stitt said. “We feel like it’s the right time to have a measured reopening.”

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The D and F grade governors “continue to arbitrarily ban activities without respect to any sensible risk versus benefit calculation — and are therefore taking the largest risk of all — the risk of catastrophic economic collapse,” the statement said.