Climate Hawks Vote set out to end the farce that is the Climate ‘Solutions’ Caucus in the 2018 election, and has succeeded in its goal.
“We targeted Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) for his failure of leadership, endorsed Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and now congratulate her for winning,” says RL Miller, president of the group.
The initial endorsement by Climate Hawks Vote of Mucarsel-Powell noted that Curbelo has taken tens of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel interests. After the endorsement, Mucarsel-Powell campaigned vocally on the issue. Ultimately the NRCC responded with an advertisement criticizing her for taking “thousands in dirty coal money” (which turned out to be one donation from Tom Steyer). Meanwhile, Climate Hawks Vote ran digital ads that reached over 55,000 voters in the last few days before the election, focused on Curbelo’s Big Oil money.
“We targeted Curbelo specifically because he was perceived as a Republican voice of reason on climate even as he criticized ‘alarmists’ on hurricanes wreaking havoc on his state. We thought there was a good possibility that the caucus could produce a badly pre-compromised bill such as the Americans for Carbon Dividends proposal, trading both a waiver of Exxon’s liability for its past acts and waiver of EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for a low carbon tax. And rather than fume, we acted.”
Before Tuesday, the caucus had grown to 90 members (45 Republicans and 45 Democrats), yet had still failed to produce a meaningful bill or establish itself as a critical voting bloc; its only victory was in defeating an amendment to a Defense Department spending bill in July 2017. It now is down to about 24 Republicans, including Matt Gaetz, a high profile Trump supporter/climate change denier who wrote a bill to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency. “I have no idea who will lead the caucus now — or whether it will simply fade away into the obscurity that it deserves,” says Miller.
“Sweetest of all, we helped replace climate peacocks with fierce climate hawks like Sean Casten,” adds Miller. “The stage is now set for the House to take up big bold climate bills.” Climate Hawks Vote was an early supporter of Casten — the only national green group to endorse him in his primary win. Casten defeated Peter Roskam (R-IL-06), who joined the caucus after Casten’s primary victory.