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Memos & Research

LCVVF PRE-ELECTION MEMO: $100 million invested to protect the progress we’ve made – and build a more just, equitable clean energy future

Nov 4, 2022

To: Interested Parties
From: Pete Maysmith, SVP of Campaigns, LCV Victory Fund
Date: November 4, 2022
Re: $100 million invested to protect the progress we’ve made – and build a more just, equitable clean energy future

This year, we knew that climate and democracy champions must overcome a number of challenges such as historical election trends for midterms, and the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including high inflation that is understandably top of mind for most voters.

A CNN poll this week found that 75 percent of voters think the country is in a recession and over half of voters go on to list the economy and inflation as the most important issue this election. A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 52 percent of voters who rank the economy as their top issue are planning to vote for Republicans.

In many places racist voting restrictions are making it harder for the diverse coalition of voters who helped power the Biden-Harris ticket to victory in 2020 to access the ballot. Since 2020, 19 states passed at least 33 new laws that make voting more difficult.

As we knew they would, the fossil fuel industry unleashed massive spending in an attempt to stave off the essential transition to clean, renewable energy. Greedy oil and gas companies that are raking in record breaking profits from price gouging consumers at the gas pump were among the largest contributors to right wing outside groups this year – because they see their donations supporting Congressional Republicans as “smart business investments.”

But unlike the last time Congress tried to pass climate legislation in 2010, Republicans did not run against the climate and clean energy provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act this cycle. This is a marked difference from a dozen years ago – the politics of climate have changed significantly. Just this week, new polling found the Climate Law is broadly popular – 64 percent of voters approve of the law including overwhelming numbers of Democrats (90 percent), a significant majority of independents (56 percent) and even over a third of Republicans (37 percent).

To overcome these challenges, LCV Victory Fund and affiliated entities are running our biggest midterm campaign ever to boost turnout among voters who care deeply about climate change and the environment with an investment of over $100 million. We have been providing weekly updates on our work and where candidates are running on our issues, but here is the big picture:

2022 By the Numbers

By the end of Election Day, LCV Victory Fund and affiliated entities will have contacted millions of voters through 2 million door knocks, over 6 million pieces of mail, 321,000 phone calls, and over 160 television, digital, and radio ads.

$100 million invested in priority races for the 2021/2022 election cycle – including:

  • $26.5 million invested in 8 Senate races
  • $19.5 million invested in 19 Governors races
  • $9.2 million invested in 41 House races
  • $8.8 million invested in state legislative races 
  • $7.6 million invested in other state and local races
  • $26 million raised directly for pro-environment candidates through GiveGreen
  • $2 million invested in GreenRoots member mobilization (see more here)

LCV Victory Fund’s federal Dirty Dozen list of the worst anti-environment and anti-democracy candidates included a slew of dangerous climate and election deniers, including villains like Blake Masters who is already sowing the seeds to deny the results of the Arizona Senate race, and best friend to Big Oil Adam Laxalt who says it’s not “Big Oil’s fault” that gas prices have increased despite their record profits. In the states, LCV state affiliates nominated 12 of the biggest threats to our environment at the state level to the Dirty Dozen in the States, including nominees for governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state supreme court, and local races that will have a profound impact on climate change and democracy.

The story behind the numbers

Our top priorities this cycle are to:

1. Protect the Senate majority & elect new champions
2. Defend pro-environment governors & elect new champions
3. Protect as many incumbent House champions as possible & elect new champions

All year we’ve been working to help elect leaders who support ambitious policies that address climate change and environmental justice on the scale that science and justice demand, and who will defend and expand voting rights to ensure that voters decide elections.

This year is the first in LCV’s more than 50-year history where we had a transformational climate law to campaign on – so we did. We learned early in the cycle that it was persuasive to highlight the ways the Inflation Reduction Act will lower energy costs, create new clean energy jobs, and reduce pollution that causes climate change. Much of LCVVF’s investment went to the strategic $15 million Climate Voters Mobilization digital advertising and direct mail campaign. The program targeted 2 million voters in dozens of battleground states and districts who are uniquely mobilized by climate and environmental issues, but are at risk of not turning out to vote. We ran 10 weeks of ads and mail in partnership with Climate Power Action highlighting the stakes for climate in this election, and where candidates stood on the Inflation Reduction Act. With our support, our state affiliates ran a similar Climate Voters Mobilization effort in the critically important Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin governors races.

In addition to mobilizing voters we know are particularly motivated by climate and clean energy, we did not leave a stone unturned when it came to reaching every potential voter who could make the difference in the races that will determine control of Congress and governorships.

We’ve persuaded and mobilized these voters through:

  • Our $22.5 million investment in best-in-class on the ground field organizing with state affiliates and partners in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. After a completely virtual electoral cycle for LCVVF in 2020, getting back on the doors this year to have face-to-face conversations with voters about the stakes for climate and clean energy in this election has been enormously impactful.
  • Showing up as key allies to our state affiliates and in environmental and progressive coalitions – and investing tens of millions in additional targeted, race-specific TV and digital ads and direct mail in support of candidates who will champion our issues, in battleground states and districts where resources were needed. We’ve teamed up with partners like EDF Action Votes, BlackPAC, and Priorities USA Action on joint ads – and filled in gaps on TV and Digital for key players like Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC.

Here’s the breakdown of all we did:

The Senate – $26.5 million

Retaining pro-environment and pro-democracy control of the U.S. Senate was LCV Victory Fund’s top priority this cycle. We made significant investments in eight battleground senate races that could determine control of the chamber and where climate and clean energy are on the ballot.

In Arizona, a state on the frontlines of the climate crisis facing record-breaking extreme heat, drought, and fires, and at the center of attacks on the democratic process, LCV Victory Fund invested $4.4M to re-elect Sen. Mark Kelly and defeat Dirty Dozen member Blake Masters. The spending included digital ads and mail highlighting Kelly’s support for lowering costs, creating clean energy jobs, and combating the climate crisis through the Inflation Reduction Act as part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. LCVVF also opened 3 field offices, knocked on over 342,438 doors, and had 47,941 conversations with voters in Arizona in support of Sen. Kelly. Additionally, LCVVF supported Somos PAC’s field program to engage Latino voters in the AZ Senate race.

In Colorado, we invested $7.3 million to re-elect Sen. Michael Bennet and defeat Dirty Dozen member Joe O’Dea. Spending included large TV and digital programs in the last month of the campaign, including a digital ad highlighting Bennet’s work across the aisle and with President Biden to get the first national monument of his presidency designated in Colorado, contrasted with O’Dea’s opposition to the CORE Act and support for expanding oil and gas drilling on public lands. One of our TV ads, “51st,” pointed out O’Dea’s climate denial and the potential that he could be the 51st vote to repeal the landmark Climate Law. The Colorado Senate race was also part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action.

In Georgia, we invested $1.8 million to re-elect Senator Raphael Warnock and defeat Dirty Dozen member Herschel Walker. The spending included digital ads and mail highlighting Warnock’s support for lowering costs, creating clean energy jobs, and combating the climate crisis through the Inflation Reduction Act as part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. Also in Georgia, the New American Jobs Fund, a joint effort of LCV Victory Fund and the United Steelworkers (USW Works), were major backers of Family Friendly Action PAC’s major field organizing effort in support of Sen. Warnock and Stacey Abrams for Governor. Through this program, organizers knocked on over 197,500 doors and had conversations with 25,675 Georgians in the northern Atlanta suburbs.

In Nevada, we invested $3.8 million to re-elect Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and defeat Dirty Dozen member Adam Laxalt. We launched our first ad of the general election cycle in the NV Senate race, “Profits in the Tank”, in August. The ad highlights Adam Laxalt’s cozy relationship with oil companies that are jacking up gas prices at Nevadans’ expense. The Nevada Senate race was also part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. LCVVF, in partnership with Nevada Conservation Leadership PAC, also opened 4 field offices, knocked on over 501,647 doors, and had 65,214 conversations with voters in Nevada in support of Sen. Cortez Masto. Additionally, LCVVF supported Somos PAC’s field program to engage Latino voters in the NV Senate race.

In New Hampshire, we invested $3.2M to re-elect Sen. Maggie Hassan and defeat Don Bolduc. We ran a joint TV ad program with EDF Action Votes in opposition to Bolduc. The New Hampshire Senate race was also part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. LCVVF also opened 2 field offices, knocked on over 96,205 doors, and had 12,507 conversations with voters in New Hampshire in support of Sen. Hassan.

In North Carolina, we invested $500,000 to elect former Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and defeat Dirty Dozen member Ted Budd. We ran a joint radio ad program with BlackPAC in the final weeks of the election highlighting Beasley’s commitment to protecting the environment, lowering costs, protecting voting rights, and protecting reproductive freedom.

In Pennsylvania, we invested $3 million to elect John Fetterman and defeat Mehmet Oz. The Pennsylvania Senate race was part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. We also ran an anti-Oz ad in the final week of the election. LCVVF, in partnership with Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania Victory Fund, opened 5 field offices, knocked on 291,446 doors, and had 37,888 conversations with Pennsylvania voters in support of John Fetterman. LCVVF also supported API PA’s bilingual persuasion mail program in support of Fetterman, targeting historically undercontacted AAPI voters in their native language. Additionally, LCVVF supported BlackPAC’s PA field program to engage with Black voters in support of Fetterman.

In Wisconsin, we invested $2.2 million to elect Mandela Barnes and defeat Sen. Ron Johnson. The spending included digital ads and mail highlighting Barnes’s support for lowering costs, creating clean energy jobs, and combating the climate crisis as part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. LCVVF, in partnership with Wisconsin Conservation Voters IEC, opened 4 field offices, knocked on 365,000 doors, and had 65,700 conversations with Wisconsin voters in support of Mandela Barnes. LCVVF also supported Black Leaders Organizing for Communities’ (BLOC) field program to mobilize Black voters on the North side of Milwaukee, as well as the Racine and Kenosha areas. Additionally, LCVVF contributed in support of BlackPAC’s WI field program to engage with Black voters in support of Barnes.

The House – $9.2 million

Working to protect as many incumbent House climate and democracy champions as possible, and helping to elect new climate leaders in races where LCVVF’s involvement can make the difference was another top priority this cycle.

We ultimately invested in 41 House races across the country, beginning with competitive primaries where LCVVF was proud to back many non-incumbent, women of color candidates, then began the general election and the kick off the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action in 20 House races, especially districts of climate champs integral to passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, and ultimately we hit our stride in late summer with near-constant ad launches in battleground House races, many in partnership with climate and progressive allies. We were able to expand our scope and run program in 14 additional House districts in the final weeks of the election, thanks to supporters’ trust in LCVVF’s electoral work.

Some highlights of our 2022 House program included:

  • Example ads from the Climate Voters Mobilization with Climate Power Action – targeting climate voters in 25 House districts and 7 Senate races: “Meet,” “Generation”, “Write It Down”
  • “Trump’s Plan” – a GOTV ad we’re running with Priorities USA Action in IA-03, IL-17, NE-02, NY-19, OR-04, OR-06, and RI-02
  • “Ayudemos” – Spanish-language ad in CO-08 about anti-environment candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer’s support for fracking near a school (English translation here)
  • “Twilight” – calls out Rep. Herrell’s (NM-02) anti-Democratic extremism
  • “Solar” – highlights Rep. Levin’s (CA-49) work to create solar jobs

The 41 races we invested in this cycle were: CA-27, CA-47, CA-49, CO-08, CT-05, IA-03, IL-06, IL-14, IL-17, KS-03, LA-02, MD-04, MI-03, MI-07, MI-08, MN-02, NE-02, NH-01, NH-02, NJ-03, NM-02, NV-01, NV-03, NV-04, NY-17, NY-19, NY-22, NC-13, OH-01, OH-09, OH-13, OR-04, OR-06, PA-07, PA-08, PA-12, RI-02, TX-28, VA-02, VA-07, and WA-08. All of our work in 2022 House races can be found here.

The States – $36 million

At the state level, control of governor’s mansions and state legislatures will have a profound impact on our environment. Because of state level action, 40% of the country now lives in a place committed to 100% clean electricity. Ensuring there are environmental champions in these key positions is crucial to effectively implement historic climate and clean energy funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and to continue making progress on climate and clean energy with state level policy. That’s why our state affiliates invested $3.3 million in 2022 to turn out voters who care about climate change and help elect pro-environmental Governors across the country.

For a full breakdown of these races, please see our October memo highlighting the most important state and local races to protect our environment and democracy.

Governors races

Our state affiliates’ top priority gubernatorial races this cycle to protect or pick-up were:

  • Maine, Governor Janet Mills – $600,000
  • Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer – $2.9 million
  • Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz – $750,000
  • Nevada, Governor Steve Sisolak – $4.4 million
  • New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham – $600,000
  • Oregon, Tina Kotek – $1.5 million
  • Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro – $2.6 million
  • Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers – $3 million

Our state affiliates were also involved in the Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey (2021), Ohio, and Virginia (2021) governors races.

Some ad highlights from our state affiliates’ 2022 governors program: “Big” (MI Gov), “Leadership” (NM Gov), “Look” (PA Gov), “A Choice” (WI Gov)

State Legislatures

Our state affiliates’ top priority state legislative races this cycle to expand, protect pick-up or defend were:

  • California – $710,000
  • Colorado – $1.5M
  • Maine – $224,000
  • Michigan – $950,00
  • Minnesota Senate – $380,000
  • Montana – $230,000
  • Nevada – $136,000
  • New Hampshire – $20,000
  • New Mexico House – $300,000
  • North Carolina Senate – $475,000
  • Wisconsin – $600,000

We also know we cannot have a healthy environment without a healthy democracy. We need attorneys general, secretaries of state, and supreme court justices willing to stand up for voting rights and fair elections or our democracy may not recover. Choosing state leaders who will champion climate action and protect democracy has never been a higher priority. For a full breakdown of these races, please see our October memo highlighting the most important state and local races to protect our environment and democracy.

Our state affiliates prioritized Attorneys General races in Colorado, Massachusetts (Primary), Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and Wisconsin. They invested in State Supreme Court races in Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio, and for Secretaries of State in Arizona, Michigan, and Nevada.

Other State Races

Chispa Arizona invested over $800,000 in Arizona Corporation Commission races. If a seat is flipped on the ACC this year, it could be the swing vote to bring 100% clean electricity to Arizona. Chispa Arizona has endorsed current Commissioner Sandra Kennedy and Tempe City Councilwoman Lauren Kuby. Their opponents Kevin Thompson and Nick Myers oppose mandates like the state’s renewable energy standard, incentives for electric vehicles, and even energy efficiency requirements for utilities.

CVNM Verde Voters Fund invested $250,000 in the race for New Mexico Lands Commissioner. Stephanie Garcia Richard has been a champion for climate and conservation. Because of Richard’s commitment to the environment, she had been previously targeted by the oil and gas industry.

LCV Victory Fund, in partnership with Chispa TX, invested $50,000 to back a slate of four candidates committed to bring change to the Corpus Christi, Texas City Council. The city has been a hub for fossil fuel development and these candidates have committed to creating the first city-wide climate action plan and rethinking what investments are made across the community.

GiveGreen – $26 million

$26 million has been raised for federal and state candidates through GiveGreen, a project of LCV Victory Fund and NRDC Action Votes, in this election cycle — blowing past our 2018 midterm total and further cementing GiveGreen as the biggest single-issue fundraising platform of any progressive group following our banner year in 2020. Of the $26 million, GiveGreen donors have raised over $7.7 million for Senate candidates, over $9.4 million for House candidates, and over $8.9 million for gubernatorial candidates and down-ballot races. This historic effort is being fueled by grassroots donors from across the country who are energized to support climate champions up and down the ballot.

Mobilizing Members 

A detailed summary of LCV’s member mobilization work, as well as LCV Action Fund’s endorsements can be found here. 

Ballot Initiatives

Separate from important candidate races across the country, there are two ballot initiatives focused on funding for critical climate and environmental initiatives and one focused on protecting voting rights that are major priorities for our state affiliates.

New York LCV is building voter support for the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act that will be on the November ballot and will invest $650 million for clean water infrastructure, including funds to replace lead pipes, $1.1 billion to make communities more resilient to flooding and $1.5 billion for climate mitigation, including $500 million allocated for schools to purchase electric school buses and $400 million to green schools and public buildings, and $650 million in parks and open space, with at least 35% of the funds dedicated to disadvantaged communities.

California Environmental Voters is leading a coalition of labor organizations, environmental groups, firefighters, public health advocates, environmental justice organizations, and businesses supporting California’s Proposition 30 The Clean Air Initiative. They invested $200,000 to build support for Prop 30 that would invest nearly $100 billion in new revenue over the next 20 years to fight and prevent catastrophic wildfires, expand electric and zero emission vehicles charging/fueling infrastructure and support consumers and organizations to purchase clean vehicles. Half of all funding for the vehicle and infrastructure investments would benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities and would raise revenue by requiring the wealthiest Californians (those making over $2 million) to pay their fair share.

Michigan League of Conservation Voters, through its ballot question committee Our Water Our Democracy, invested $275,000 to build support for Michigan’s Prop 2, a constitutional amendment that would significantly reform voting policies to be more equitable for Michigan voters with the inclusion of early voting, more absentee ballot boxes and paid postage, auditing done by election officials only, and election certification based solely on votes cast.

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Paid for by LCV Victory Fund, www.lcvvictoryfund.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.