The Hottest Races in America are Climate Races

Vote Climate U.S. PAC announced our 2020 U.S. Senate priority candidates, those races where we will have the biggest, national impact, increasing our voting bloc and leadership for climate-action. This is the first time we focused exclusively on the U.S. Senate, when choosing our priorities. A climate-action majority in the U.S. Senate is the most important goal, if we are to pass meaningful climate legislation. All of our 2020 priority U.S. Senate candidates are challenging powerful incumbents. Ironically given the issue, all of the races are virtual dead heats.

Vote Climate U.S. PAC’s priority candidates highlight races in critical, swing states that could go either way, where there is a sharp distinction in the climate calculation between candidates. Victories in these races would mean that climate-action candidates would dominate the U.S. Senate. First we must win, and these are tough races, attempting to unseat powerful incumbents.

Americans can use our national, climate change voter’s guide to choose climate-action candidates in their own state and congressional district first. But to have a broader impact, voters can donate, volunteer or spread the word on social media for these priority candidates who could change the politics of climate change.

Vote Climate U.S. PAC 2020 Priority Candidates — Research from Our Voter’s Guide

John Hickenlooper (D) Colorado

Climate Calculation: 100, Climate Hero.

His opponent’s Climate Calculation: 18.75.

The Cook Political Report: Leans Democratic.

On his campaign website Hickenlooper says, “Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, and our state is on the front lines of this crisis… It is imperative that we address the climate challenges we face with a fierce sense of urgency — human lives and livelihoods are at stake.” Hickenlooper publicly supports and advocates for a U.S. fee on carbon pollution. He states, “Revenue generated from a price on carbon would be returned directly to American taxpayers as a dividend, more than offsetting any potential increase in energy costs.”

Steve Bullock (D) Montana

Climate Calculation: 100, Climate Hero.

His opponent’s Climate Calculation: Zero.

The Cook Political Report: Toss Up.

U.S. Senate Candidate and former Governor Steve Bullock states on his website, “Our climate is changing. We can see it right here in Montana in longer, more intense fire seasons, and the loss of ice in Glacier National Park… In the Senate, Steve will work to invest in clean energy and create good-paying jobs in fields that address climate change. Governor Bullock publicly supports and advocates for a U.S. fee on carbon. According to an article in the Great Falls Tribune, Governor Bullock stated “Montana should consider ‘the efficacy of reducing carbon emissions,’ and how revenues generated from carbon pricing will be invested back into the economy.’”

Jaime Harrison (D) South Carolina

Climate Calculation: 92.5

His opponent’s Climate Calculation: 37.5.

The Cook Political Report: Toss Up.

On the candidate’s campaign website, it reads, “Droughts are causing wildfires in the Upstate, and stronger hurricanes and flooding put millions at risk. Climate change is an existential threat to our coastal communities, and it is beginning to affect areas that previously never had to consider emergency preparation. Jaime will take action to make our coastline resilient, protect our clean air and water, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and prepare our infrastructure for rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms. He will also fight for South Carolinians by opposing any drilling off our pristine coast.” Harrison has no known or an inconsistent position on a U.S. fee on carbon pollution.

Mark Kelly (D) Arizona

Climate Calculation: 92.5

His opponent’s Climate Calculation: 18.75.

The Cook Political Report: Leans Democratic.

On his campaign website, the candidate states, “Left unchecked, climate change poses a threat to Arizona’s economy and our way of life. In 2018, Phoenix had 128 days over 100 degrees. A warming climate means twice as many days over 100 degrees in Phoenix, which endangers Arizona’s economy. Longer and more severe droughts will also restrict Arizona’s access to clean water and pose increased public health risks…” Kelly has no known or an inconsistent position on a U.S. fee on carbon pollution.

Theresa Greenfield (D) Iowa

Climate Calculation: 92.5

Her opponent’s Climate Calculation: Zero.

The Cook Political Report: Toss Up.

U.S. House Candidate Theresa Greenfield understands the importance of climate action as a top priority issue. On her campaign website, the candidate states, “Climate change is getting worse. We’ve seen it in extensive floods that destroy our fields and wash away parts of our cities. We can’t afford to have Senators who question and deny the science, who refuse to act when the future of our kids and grandkids are on the line, and who consistently put the needs of Big Oil over Iowans suffering.” Greenfield has no known or an inconsistent position on a U.S. fee on carbon pollution.

Sara Gideon (D) Maine

Climate Calculation: 92.5

Her opponent’s Climate Calculation: 50

The Cook Political Report: Toss Up.

U.S. Senate Candidate Sara Gideon understands the importance of climate action as a top priority issue. On her campaign website, the candidate states, “Climate change is one of the most urgent challenges we face — affecting everything from our public health to our economy… We must act now to protect Maine’s natural resources and the continuation of our industries for generations to come — we can’t wait for federal action any longer.” Gideon has no known or an inconsistent position on a U.S. fee on carbon.

Jon Ossoff (D) Georgia

Climate Calculation: 92.5

His opponent’s Climate Calculation: Zero

The Cook Political Report: Toss Up.

On his campaign website, the candidate states, “The scientific consensus is unambiguous: if pollution from fossil fuel combustion is not controlled, the consequences will be dire… We can meet our energy needs without destroying the environment — but only by rapidly transitioning to clean energy sources, dramatically reducing carbon emissions, and increasing energy efficiency… That’s why I’ll support a historic infrastructure plan that includes massive investments in clean energy, energy efficiency, and environmental protection.” Ossoff has no known or an inconsistent position on a U.S. fee on carbon pollution.

While Vote Climate U.S. PAC is a non-partisan organization, all of our priority candidates are Democrats. That is because of the stunning partisan divide that exists on the issue. Our analysis of our research data indicates that in the U.S. Senate, the mean climate calculation for incumbent Republicans is 14.7, as compared with Democrats who average 91.8. The numbers for challengers are similar with Republicans averaging 17.7 and Democrats mean score was 90.7.

Whether you’re voting by mail or in-person, Vote Climate U.S. PAC’s voter’s guide makes it simple for every American to vote climate. Go to our voter’s guide page. Click your state on the map, enter your zip code or your candidate’s last name. Find your district and vote for the candidate with the highest climate calculation. Be sure to click the green + button to the left of the candidate’s name for detailed information from our research.

Karyn Strickler is the founder and president of Vote Climate U.S. PAC

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Karyn Strickler

Karyn Strickler is president of Vote Climate U.S. PAC working to elect candidates to get off fossil fuels and put a fee on carbon to slow climate change.