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Environmental group plans to spend $25 million on elections

The League of Conservation Voters today announced that it would be pouring more than $25 million into ads and mobilization for the upcoming midterm elections, more than five times what they spent in 2010.

A large chunk of the money will be headed to Senate races in states like Iowa, Colorado and Michigan.

In fact, the group launched a statewide buy in Iowa today, hitting Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst for her past statements on not just the environment, but Social Security.

“Yes, I have talked about privatizing Social Security,” Ernst says in the ad. That’s followed by her calling for shutting down the Environmental Protection Agency.

More than $5 million will go directly toward tight State races that the group’s president, Gene Karpinski, calls, the “Senate firewall.”

The group also named Ernst as a member of its 2014 “Dirty Dozen” this week alongside Thom Tillis, the Republican candidate for the Senate in North Carolina, and Maine Gov. Paul LePage. The league’s “Dirty Dozen” list “targets candidates who…consistently vote against clean energy and conservation and are running in races in which LCV has a serious chance to affect the outcome,” the group says on to its website.

Michigan, New Hampshire and Colorado can also expect a lot of attention from the league, which is banking on environmental issues being a winning issue this November. While many of the tightest races this election are playing out in red states, states won by Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election, these “firewall” states that the league is playing in were all won by President Barack Obama.

The group’s pollster is Amy Levin, a partner with Benson Strategy group, which conducted the polling for President Obama’s campaigns. According to Levin, more than half of 2014 voters said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who denies climate change.

“It signals that they’re anti-science, and it is a vulnerability,” Levin contended at a press conference Thursday.

Much of the $25 million will go towards getting that message out and trying to drive voters to the polls in key states where that message might resonate 1.5 million drop-off voters, who don’t typically vote in midterms, but usually vote Democratic in presidential elections.

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