Five environmental advocacy organizations are buying a total of $4.95 million in ads like the one above for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to help candidates in four states. Hagan's opponent won't be picked until the May Republican primary, but whoever it is, Hagan will be in a tight race. Besides her, the ads feature Democratic Reps. Bruce Braley of Iowa, who is seeking to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, and Gary Peters of Michigan. Ads are also being bought backing Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. More about her in a moment.
The coalition comprises the Sierra Club, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Environmental Defense Fund, the American Sustainable Business Council Action Fund and Mom's Clean Air Force.
Kate Sheppard writes:
Well-heeled conservative groups have been running ads against Hagan since last year, including [Koch-found and -funded] Americans for Prosperity, American Crossroads, Americans for a Conservative Direction, and the Senate Conservatives Fund. The media buyer for the environmental group estimates that the conservative groups together have spent $9 million on ads in the state in 2013 and 2014. The American Petroleum Institute and the American Energy Alliance have spent another $313,000, according to the environmental group's calculations. [...]Among its other efforts, the coalition will be running on-the-ground campaigns for climate change action in 11 states: Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
“Each member was chosen because each has taken a courageous stand recently on clean energy and jobs, pollution protection or public health related votes," said David Di Martino, a consultant working with the environmental groups. "They were there for us, and now we are here for them.”
Di Martino said the ad campaign is "the tip of the spear on what is coming from the clean energy community this year."
As noted, the coalition is backing Republican Sen. Susan Collins because of her stance on clean energy and for, miraculously, not being a climate-change denier, unlike so many of her colleagues. Compared to other Republicans, Collins does well on the League of Conservation Voters' annual scorecard of environmental votes. But her 69 percent life-time LCV average still ranks her at D+. If she is elected to a fourth term, she'll back the same bad Republican leadership as she has previously while occasionally separating herself from the GOP pack. The three Democrats, on the other hand, rate 85 percent or above on the LCV scorecard.
Nonetheless, the coalition's ads support Collins instead of Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows, a progressive on a wide range of issues who has made climate change a key part of her campaign and opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, which Collins has voted for twice. This may be an attempt by the coalition to be bipartisan-y to make some of the constituent groups' more conservative donors happy. But it's short-sighted given that there is little to no bipartisanship emanating from the modern Republican Party that favors the environment. Collins hasn't been able to change that during her nearly 18 years in the Senate.