WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the League of Conservation Voters celebrated the results of the 2008 general election with smashing victories up and down the ballot. From the election of President–elect Obama to local public utility commissioners in New Mexico and Montana, the environmental community in general and the league movement specifically helped achieve one of the best pro-environment election outcomes in history.
Of 116 federal candidates endorsed by LCV or state LCVs, at least 92 won, while the outcomes of seven races are still unknown. Of races called so far, LCV endorsed candidates hold a win percentage of at least 84.4%. 60 of 62 LCV-backed incumbents won reelection and will be joined by new environmental leaders: 26-29 new members of Congress, 5-8 new U.S. Senators, and the next President of the United States. For an outline of newly elected environmental champions, visit www.lcv.org/facebook.
LCV’s state partners supported state legislative, governor and other statewide and local races in 35 states across the country. 1,294 state and local candidates were supported by LCV and state leagues. Our candidates won in 514 of 652 – or 78% of the races where the outcome is known as of now.
During the 2008 election cycle, LCV, its Federal PAC and its state leagues spent approximately $13 million on electoral work, including support for and opposition to ballot measures in several states, and through independent expenditures in support of key environmental champions. LCV and state league TV spots aired in federal races more than 14,000 times in Colorado, Alaska, North Carolina, Maryland, and Oregon alongside a significant radio buy in New Hampshire. LCV mail, phone and canvass programs contacted voters in Colorado, Missouri, Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon, Minnesota, Maryland, New Mexico, New Hampshire and Virginia 1,406,110 times.
In the 110th Congress, filibusters by allies of the oil industry consistently blocked vital clean energy and global warming bills despite pro-environment majorities in the House and Senate. LCV’s priority in the 2008 cycle was to elect a 60-vote filibuster-proof pro-environment majority in the Senate.
LCV’s efforts focused on challengers who represented a new voice in the Senate, including races in Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Minnesota, Georgia, Alaska, and Oregon. LCV is proud to congratulate Tom Udall, Mark Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, and Kay Hagan. They join other LCV champions like Senator Frank Lautenberg and Senator Susan Collins to help provide that 60-vote majority. We wish Mark Begich, Al Franken, Jim Martin, and Jeff Merkley well as the outcomes of their races are determined.
“LCV is proud to have helped so many environmental champions win in 2008 and to be within reach our principal goal of a 60-vote pro-environment majority in the U.S. Senate,” LCV President Gene Karpinski said. “With strong new leaders like these, we expect to pass significant global warming and clean energy legislation in the next year. With President Obama leading the way, we will help this new Congress bring about a clean, renewable energy future and a new energy economy for America.”
In 2004, LCV was a key early endorser of Senator Obama, giving a boost to his then fledgling campaign for Senate. In 2008, LCV endorsed Senator Barack Obama for President because he offered the strongest energy and global warming plan ever put forward by a Presidential nominee. Since then, at the party conventions, at the debates and through national and state media, LCV and its Federal PAC provided expert and independent analysis of the candidates’ energy proposals, serving as a third party validator in the press for Senator Obama’s energy and global warming plans while debunking Senator McCain’s attacks and misguided energy policies. LCV contacted voters more than 150,279 times in North Carolina, which Senator Obama won by 12,160 votes and contacted voters more than 232,356 times in Colorado, which Senator Obama won by 138,521 votes.
In 2008, LCV’s signature Dirty Dozen program targeted 13 of the worst members of Congress on energy and environmental issues, and defeated 7 of them, with the Alaska Senate race still too close to call. The 2008 Dirty Dozen held an average lifetime LCV score of only 10%, while their opponents show great promise for meaningful environmental leadership. For a full list of the 2008 Dirty Dozen, visit www.lcv.org/dirtydozen.
In addition to our national campaigns, LCV, in conjunction with its state league partners, championed a number of local environmental initiatives this November. Two successful ballot initiatives, in particular, received strong support: Missouri's Proposition C, the Clean Energy Initiative, and Minnesota's Clean Water, Land, and Legacy amendment. These measures were designed to encourage growth in state renewable energy industries and to fund clean water and land preservation programs, respectively.
State league campaigns played a key role in creating pro-environment majorities in state legislative chambers in Wisconsin, New York and Ohio.
“Change was the great rallying cry of this election and America’s energy future was a key issue for voters looking for change,” Karpinski concluded. “For so long, the oil industry has held our energy policy hostage, but the story of this election will be that the American people made a choice between the failed energy policies of the past and a new, clean, renewable energy future. They made their choice and they will expect results.”
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