At Climate Hawks Vote, we’re kicking off our 2018 campaign in earnest. We’ve sent survey emails to Climate Hawks Vote members in selected House districts and to the entire state of California, and we’ll do a bit more as retirements are announced, state/local 2017 races end, and the field of candidates settles down. We started off with a list of 98 House races - Red-To-Blue, retirements, deep blue seats where the primary is the de facto general election, interesting races, and intriguing people. From that original list of 98 races, we’ve narrowed it down to eight in a top tier, and an additional 22 in a second tier. And now we’re listening to grassroots activists in districts.
Simply put, we’re looking for viable candidates who make climate action a top priority. We don’t have questionnaires or litmus tests - but it sure helps if a candidate signs the pledge not to take fossil fuel money! We do look at viability, because we don’t build political power for the climate movement by supporting unelectable candidates — and I’m a frequent lurker/occasional commenter on the DailyKos Elections digests. I want a Congress that reflects the diversity of America. But a candidate’s commitment to climate action is the top criterion for a Climate Hawks Vote endorsement. I’m pleased to note that 2018 Democratic candidates are more willing to talk about the need for climate action than 2016 and 2014 candidates were (but less pleased to note that many of them settle for stating that “climate change is real” without elaboration).
This year has been more complicated, in a mostly good way, than 2016. The huge wave of Democratic enthusiasm is translating into a lot more candidates running for Congress in contested primaries than in prior years. Primary endorsements can be divisive, so some groups will not endorse until the general election. We’re different — we believe that we find the fiercest climate hawk by getting involved in the primary. But we’re also a grassroots organization, which means that we want to hear from people in the district - the people who go to the debates and the coffee meet-and-greets and get a chance to get up close and personal with the candidates. So we’re making more of an effort to get involved early.
Some of the races where we’re doing survey work — and if you live in any of these districts, please vote in our survey!
-- CA39: Red to Blue seat, crowded primary. Vote here!
-- CO02: deep blue seat with some real climate hawks. Vote here
-- CO06: Red to Blue seat with one DCCC-favored frontrunner and another candidate with impeccable climate credentials. Vote here
-- IL06: Red to Blue seat, crowded primary, several candidates with climate credentials and others not so much. Vote here
-- NE02: Red to Blue seat, pro-Keystone XL conservaDem ex-Representative trying to get his job back vs progressive anti-KXL children's advocate. Vote here
-- TX06, uphill Red to Blue (Smokey Joe Barton), crowded primary. Vote here
-- TX21, uphill Red to Blue (Lamar Smith). We were virtually the only group backing a candidate against Smith last cycle, and we showed that Smith is vulnerable. Now there’s a crowded primary — so vote here
--MA03 (we are waiting til the field settles before doing survey work), open seat with a lot of solid Dems
-- NM01 (survey going out after Albuquerque municipal elections): deep blue seat, very crowded primary, 3 climate hawk candidates and 4 not-so-much.
-- VA02 (survey going out after VA state elections): Red to Blue, crowded primary
-- WA08 (we are waiting til the field settles before doing survey work), Red to Blue open seat with several solid Dems
Oh, that survey work among Californians regarding the Senate seat... More on this soon.