The powerful new NextGen Climate political action committee today announced its 2014 strategy. It aims to win November races across the country where climate is on the ballot. NextGen supports candidates with strong records of accepting and planning for climate change. The organization has two primary goals: to prevent climate disaster, and to preserve American prosperity.
The group has chosen its battles carefully. In each race, the difference between pro-climate candidate and anti-science candidate stands out clearly. Candidates committed to immediate policy action have the edge with NextGen. Also, NextGen has looked for pols with potential long-term policy impact. The group is building on its 2013 success against Virginia gubernatorial nominee Cuccinelli, against whom business exec Terry McAuliffe won the governorship by a 3% margin.
Here’s who NextGen Climate is backing:
Colorado U.S. Senator: SENATOR MARK UDALL.
Reason: Candidate Cory Gardner denies climate science, is funded by fossil fuel companies and votes for their interests.
Florida Governor: Former GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST.
REASON: Incumbent Governor Rick Scott, a declared climate denier, will not “preserve environmentally sensitive land” from sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion, rising flood insurance costs. (Also home state of Senator Marco Rubio, a climate change denier, and former Governor Jeb Bush, who stays on the fence.)
Iowa U.S. Senator: REPRESENTATIVE BRUCE BRALEY.
REASON: Record drought and floods have not convinced candidates State Senator Joni Ernst has and former energy CEO Mark Jacobs about climate change.
Maine Governor: THREE-WAY RACE.
DEFEAT Incumbent Governor Paul LePage, who denies the danger to coast and forests but sees “a lot of opportunities” in climate change.
Michigan U.S. Senator: STATE REP. GARY PETERS.
REASON: Candidate Terry Lynn Land has the financial support of the petro-Koch Brothers responsible for degrading the state’s water and air quality.
New Hampshire U.S. Senator: Incumbent SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN.
REASON: Candidate Scott Brown, formerly a Massachusetts senator, takes money from Big Oil, protects $24 billion in petro subsidies, as climate change threatens the state’s 60,000-job tourism industry. Meanest race in the nation.
Pennsylvania Governor: BUSINESS EXEC TOM WOLF.
REASON: Incumbent Governor Corbett favors industry despite Pennsylvania families affected by asthma and other respiratoy diseases.
NextGen Climate has shown great transparency with not only its candidates and reasons, but also with its funding. The initial $100 million NextGen purse will come equally from smaller donors and investor-philanthropist founder and President Tom Steyer, who has pledged $50 million. Says Steyer:
“The debate on climate change is settled: it is here, it is human-caused, and it is already having a devastating impact on our communities, but we need to accelerate the level of political support to address this critical issue before it’s too late. This means making politicians feel the heat—in their campaign coffers and at the polls.”