Maine: The Base is Already Infected, the Governor is Next
Maine shows how the radical, extremist American Taliban wing of the Republican party has become the base. It has nothing in common with the older, genteel politicians at the top, here Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. Both of them are moderates who've worked with Democrats on climate issues; both have tried to bring wind power to their state; both don't have much in common with their party base any more.
Dean Scontras (ME-01) tries to have it both ways: he cofounded an alternative energy business but signed the Americans for Prosperity/Koch "no climate tax" pledge, so declares himself agnostic and not completely sold on global warming. By contrast, Jason Levesque (ME-02) appears to be a typical hard-liner who complains a lot about cap and trade and who also signed the AFP/Koch pledge.
Climate Zombies have taken over the Maine Republican party base. The platform, adopted summer 2010, now endorses this principle: "Defeat Cap and Trade, investigate collusion between government and industry in the global warming myth, and prosecute any illegal collusion." The new attitude is exemplified by Paul LePage (ME-Gov) won the GOP nomination when the party changed its platform. He dubs global warming a "scam" when not threatening to punch reporters and telling Obama to go to hell.
Semi-final score: one clear Climate Zombie, two presumed infected, and bonus points for a party platform. Since this project tracks politicians up for election in 2010, Snowe and Collins aren't being counted.
New Jersey: This Election Will Have Consequences
First, the good news: Representatives Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), Chris Smith (NJ-04), and Leonard Lance (NJ-07) were among the 8 GOP Representatives who voted for the House cap-and-trade bill in June 2009. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) doesn't like that bill but otherwise sounds fairly reasonable on energy issues. I also don't have any information regarding climate science on candidates Michael Alonso (NJ-10) and Henrietta Dwyer (NJ-13), both given little chance of success against long-serving respected Democrats.
And now the bad news: incumbent Scott Garrett (NJ-05) thinks that the question of global warming is "still out there," and has signed the AFP/Koch pledge. Candidate Dale Glading (NJ-01) confuses weather with climate. Candidate Jon Runyan (NJ-03) has signed the AFP/Koch pledge. Candidate Anna Little (NJ-06) considers "Man Made Global Climate Change" a "false premise." Candidate Roland Straten (NJ-08) thinks that the science is still out there, and has signed the AFP/Koch pledge. Candidate Scott Sipprelle (NJ-12) is considered a denier. Candidate Michael Agosta (NJ-09) concedes that a very, very small amount of climate change is human caused, but I'm counting him as a climate zombie in the context of this thoroughly brainless statement:
Well, the global warming, I thought after all that with Al Gore and his film career and all of his Nobel Peace Prize and such, I thought there was that scandal with the e-mail about how fake that actual situation truly is. Are we contributing to it? Yes we are, in a very, very, very small amount. ... In the late 80s or early 90s, they were blaming cows with the methane. Now we're going to blame, we talk about [carbon dioxide], here in New Jersey, actually, whether it's a possible pollutant. CO2. If we have no CO2, we have no grass, we have no trees, then we'll die.
Notice that, with the exception of Garrett, the elected Representatives are sane on climate issues but the candidates are not. NJ is part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a ten-state cap-and-trade initiative. The Koch-funded Americans For Prosperity abhors all cap-and-trade efforts, and it's determined that New Jersey is the weakest link in the RGGI. Politico reports that AFP
is trying to drum up support for Republican-sponsored bills in the state Legislature that would yank the state out of the climate compact. And it is lobbying Christie to issue executive orders to do essentially the same thing as the legislation. If Christie doesn’t, the group says there will be repercussions if the governor attempts a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
Christie is hardly a hero to the environmental movement, but he's never denied climate science. If he starts spouting sunspot nonsense, it'll be because the Kochtopus has reached its long, slimy tentacles into the Garden State. Expect an assault on science if the Climate Zombies gain a toehold.
Early score: four Republicans presumed NOT to be climate zombies, two lacking sufficient information, and seven who are infected or presumed to be -- but only one of those seven is an incumbent. If Koch-supported candidates gain seats in this election, expect a battle over the state's participation in RGGI.