MEMO: LCVVF Post-Election Updates – Senate protected, Green wave in the states, House still too close to call
To: Interested Parties
From: Pete Maysmith, SVP of Campaigns, LCV Victory Fund
Date: November 15, 2022
Re: LCVVF Post-Election Updates – Senate protected, Green wave in the states, House still too close to call
Almost a week since Election Day, it’s clear that LCV Victory Fund and affiliated entities successfully achieved our top priorities this cycle: 1) Protect the pro-environment Senate, 2) Protect and elect more pro-environment Governors, and 3) Protect and elect more environmental champions in the House.
This year, we knew that climate and democracy champions must overcome a number of challenges such as historical election trends for midterms, and the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including high inflation that is understandably top of mind for most voters.
Against the odds, and thanks in part to our strategic paid media and field organizing programs, climate voters showed up big time in race after race, and in the vast majority of cases climate champions won up and down the ballot. With so many close races, we are confident that our work to mobilize climate voters, support climate champions, and highlight the extremist records of opponents played a decisive role in the election. Nowhere was this more true than in state elections where up and down the ballot we saw a Green Wave of environmental champions. A detailed breakdown of state election results can be found here. We’ll have more to say about our work in the Georgia Senate runoff in the coming days.
Key results in priority races:
- 9 out of 11 Dirty Dozen members defeated [Georgia still to be decided]
- 10 of 12 Dirty Dozen in the States members defeated
- 5 out of 7 Senate races won [Georgia still to be decided]
- 28 out of 34 General Election House races won [3 still to be called]
- 10 out of 11 Governors
- 8 out of 9 state legislative campaigns won [3 still to be called]
- 4 out of 7 House primaries won
The narrative driven by pundits and polling turned out to be wrong – voters overwhelmingly rejected anti-democracy zealots and candidates who echoed Big Oil’s talking points and instead turned out for the Congressional champions who passed the largest climate bill in U.S. History, and the pro-climate candidates who supported it. It’s clear that enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act laid the foundation for Democratic victories this cycle. With the IRA in hand, we had a clear case for voters: Democrats are getting things done, lowering your costs, addressing climate pollution and creating jobs, while every Republican voted against the bill. And in the places where Republicans did win, they did not win by attacking the climate and clean energy provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act this cycle – a marked difference from a dozen years ago.
New Election Eve and Election Day polling of voters conducted by Hart Research for Climate Power shows that voters agreed more with “Democrats who supported strong action by the government to address and combat climate change than with Republicans who opposed such action” by 58% to 42%. By an even bigger margin (68%-32%), voters supported the climate and clean energy actions taken by President Biden and Congress this year. And Republicans’ lackluster response to high gas prices also fell flat, with voters favoring the Democrats’ efforts to crack down on price gouging and profiteering by Big Oil more than Republicans outdated calls for more drilling and pipelines by 57%-43%. AP Votecast exit polling found that climate change ranked only below inflation and abortion (and only one point lower than abortion) on “most important issue facing the country.”
LCV Victory Fund and affiliated entities ran our biggest midterm campaign ever to boost turnout among voters who care deeply about climate change and the environment with an investment of over $100 million – and in the majority of places, it worked.
2022 By the Numbers
This cycle, LCV Victory Fund and affiliated entities contacted millions of voters through more than 2 million door knocks, over 6 million pieces of mail, over 800,000 phone calls, and over 160 television, digital, and radio ads.
$100 million invested in priority races for the 2021/2022 election cycle – including:
- $26.5 million invested in 8 Senate races
- $19.5 million invested in 19 Governors races
- $9.2 million invested in 37 General Election House races and 7 House primaries
- $8.8 million invested in state legislative races
- $7.6 million invested in other state and local races
- $27 million raised directly for pro-environment candidates through GiveGreen
- $2 million invested in GreenRoots member mobilization (see more here)
LCV Victory Fund defeated at least 9 of the 12 members of the 2022 federal Dirty Dozen list of the worst anti-environment and anti-democracy candidates:
- Blake Masters (AZ Sen)
- Joe O’Dea (CO Sen)
- George Logan (CT-05)
- Amanda Adkins (KS-03)
- Karoline Leavitt (NH-01)
- Yvette Herrell (NM-02)
- Adam Laxalt (NV Sen)
- Mehmet Oz (PA Sen)
- Tiffany Smiley (WA Sen)
In the Georgia Senate race, Dirty Dozen member Herschel Walker received fewer votes than Sen. Warnock, but the race will be decided in a runoff on December 6th.
In the states, LCV state affiliates defeated 10 of 12 members of the Dirty Dozen in the States:
- Bob Stefanowski (CT Gov)
- Paul LePage (ME Gov)
- Dan Cox (MD Gov)
- Matthew DePerno (MI AG)
- Jim Marchant (NC SOS)
- Mark Ronchetti (NM Gov)
- Betsy Johnson and Christine Drazan (OR Gov)
- Doug Mastriano (PA Gov)
- Tim Michels (WI Gov)
The story behind the numbers
We achieved all three of our top priorities this cycle:
1) Protect the Senate majority & elect new champions ✔
2) Defend pro-environment governors & elect new champions ✔
3) Protect as many incumbent House champions as possible & elect new champions ✔ (and we beat expectations!)
All year we worked to help elect leaders who support ambitious policies that address climate change and environmental justice on the scale that science and justice demand, and who will defend and expand voting rights to ensure that voters decide elections.
Additionally, this year was the first in LCV’s more than 50-year history where we had a transformational climate law to campaign on – so we did. We learned early in the cycle that it was persuasive to highlight the ways the Inflation Reduction Act will lower energy costs, create new clean energy jobs, and reduce pollution that causes climate change. Much of LCVVF’s investment went to the strategic $15 million Climate Voters Mobilization digital advertising and direct mail campaign. The program targeted over two million voters in dozens of battleground states and districts who are uniquely mobilized by climate and environmental issues, but were at risk of not turning out to vote. We ran 10 weeks of ads and mail in partnership with Climate Power Action highlighting the stakes for climate in this election, and where candidates stood on the Inflation Reduction Act. With our support, our state affiliates ran a similar Climate Voters Mobilization effort in the critically important Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin governors’ races. We’ll have more to say about the results of the Climate Voters Mobilization program in the coming weeks but we have every indication we were talking to the right voters with the right message this fall.
In addition to mobilizing voters we know are particularly motivated by climate and clean energy, we did not leave a stone unturned when it came to reaching every potential voter who could make the difference in the races that will determine control of Congress and governorships.
We persuaded and mobilized these voters through:
- Our $22.5 million investment in best-in-class on the ground field organizing with state affiliates and partners in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. After a completely virtual electoral cycle for LCVVF in 2020, getting back on the doors this year to have face-to-face conversations with voters about the stakes for climate and clean energy in this election was enormously impactful – we saw significant victories in almost every state where we ran a field program. The Nevada Senate race is an especially clear example of the impact of LCVVF’s field program – we ran our largest effort there this cycle, opening 4 offices and knocking over 500,000 doors in support of Sen. Cortez Masto whose margin of victory was a slim 6,500 votes. We’ll have more to say about continued work in Georgia in the coming days.
- Showing up as key allies to our state affiliates and in environmental and progressive coalitions – and investing tens of millions in additional targeted, race-specific TV and digital ads and direct mail in support of candidates who will champion our issues, in battleground states and districts where resources were needed. We teamed up with partners like EDF Action Votes, BlackPAC, and Priorities USA Action on joint ads – and filled in gaps on TV and Digital for key players like Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC.
Here’s the breakdown of all we did:
The Senate – $26.5 million [WON 5, LOST 2, RUNOFF in 1]
Retaining pro-environment and pro-democracy control of the U.S. Senate was LCV Victory Fund’s top priority this cycle. We made significant investments in eight battleground Senate races that could determine control of the chamber and where climate and clean energy are on the ballot.
WON: In Arizona, a state on the frontlines of the climate crisis facing record-breaking extreme heat, drought, and fires, and at the center of attacks on the democratic process, LCV Victory Fund invested $4.4M to re-elect Sen. Mark Kelly and defeat Dirty Dozen member Blake Masters. The spending included digital ads and mail highlighting Kelly’s support for lowering costs, creating clean energy jobs, and combating the climate crisis through the Inflation Reduction Act as part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. LCVVF also opened 3 field offices, knocked on over 342,438 doors, and had 47,941 conversations with voters in Arizona in support of Sen. Kelly. Additionally, LCVVF supported Somos PAC’s field program to engage Latino voters in the AZ Senate race.
WON: In Colorado, we invested $7.3 million to re-elect Sen. Michael Bennet and defeat Dirty Dozen member Joe O’Dea. Spending included large TV and digital programs in the last month of the campaign, including a digital ad highlighting Bennet’s work across the aisle and with President Biden to get the first national monument of his presidency designated in Colorado, contrasted with O’Dea’s opposition to the CORE Act and support for expanding oil and gas drilling on public lands. One of our TV ads, “51st,” pointed out O’Dea’s climate denial and the potential that he could be the 51st vote to repeal the landmark Climate Law. The Colorado Senate race was also part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action.
RUNOFF (Warnock received most votes): In Georgia, we invested $1.8 million to re-elect Senator Raphael Warnock and defeat Dirty Dozen member Herschel Walker. The spending included digital ads and mail highlighting Warnock’s support for lowering costs, creating clean energy jobs, and combating the climate crisis through the Inflation Reduction Act as part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. Also in Georgia, the New American Jobs Fund, a joint effort of LCV Victory Fund and the United Steelworkers (USW Works), was a major backer of Family Friendly Action PAC’s field organizing effort in support of Sen. Warnock and Stacey Abrams for Governor. Through this program, organizers knocked on over 197,500 doors and had conversations with 25,675 Georgians in the northern Atlanta suburbs.
WON: In Nevada, where climate, clean energy and Big Oil connections were central issues throughout the campaign, we invested $3.8 million to re-elect Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and defeat Dirty Dozen member Adam Laxalt. We launched our first ad of the general election cycle in the NV Senate race, “Profits in the Tank”, in August. The ad highlighted Adam Laxalt’s cozy relationship with oil companies that are jacking up gas prices at Nevadans’ expense. Additionally, Sen. Cortez Masto ran ads on climate and touting investments in clean energy, including “A Really Bright Idea” and Sen. Cortez Masto and the DSCC ran multiple ads highlighting Laxalt’s ties to Big Oil, including, “They Forget,” “Gas N’ Go,” “Cashed In,” and “Briefcase.” The Nevada Senate race was also part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. LCVVF also ran our largest field effort in the country in Nevada this cycle – where we opened 4 field offices, knocked on over 501,647 doors, and had 65,214 conversations with voters in Nevada in support of Sen. Cortez Masto – who ultimately won with a slim margin of 6,500 votes. Additionally, LCVVF supported Somos PAC’s field program to engage Latino voters in the NV Senate race.
WON: In New Hampshire, we invested $3.2M to re-elect Sen. Maggie Hassan and defeat Don Bolduc. We ran a joint TV ad program with EDF Action Votes in opposition to Bolduc. The New Hampshire Senate race was also part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. LCVVF also opened 2 field offices, knocked on over 96,205 doors, and had 12,507 conversations with voters in New Hampshire in support of Sen. Hassan.
LOST: In North Carolina, we invested $500,000 in support of Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley. We ran a joint radio ad program with BlackPAC in the final weeks of the election highlighting Beasley’s commitment to protecting the environment, lowering costs, protecting voting rights, and protecting reproductive freedom.
WON: In Pennsylvania, we invested $3 million to elect John Fetterman and defeat Mehmet Oz. The Pennsylvania Senate race was part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. We also ran an anti-Oz ad in the final week of the election. LCVVF opened 5 field offices, knocked on 291,446 doors, and had 37,888 conversations with Pennsylvania voters in support of John Fetterman. LCVVF also supported API PA’s bilingual persuasion mail program in support of Fetterman, targeting historically undercontacted AAPI voters in their native language. Additionally, LCVVF supported BlackPAC’s PA field program to engage with Black voters in support of Fetterman.
LOST: In Wisconsin, we invested $2.2 million in support of Mandela Barnes. The spending included digital ads and mail highlighting Barnes’s support for lowering costs, creating clean energy jobs, and combating the climate crisis as part of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action. LCVVF opened 4 field offices, knocked on 365,000 doors, and had 65,700 conversations with Wisconsin voters in support of Mandela Barnes. LCVVF also supported Black Leaders Organizing for Communities’ (BLOC) field program to mobilize Black voters on the North side of Milwaukee, as well as the Racine and Kenosha areas. Additionally, LCVVF contributed in support of BlackPAC’s WI field program to engage with Black voters in support of Barnes.
The House – $9.2 million [GENERAL: WON 28, LOST 6, 3 OUTSTANDING; PRIMARY: WON 4, LOST 3]
Working to protect as many incumbent House climate and democracy champions as possible, and helping to elect new climate leaders in races where LCVVF’s involvement can make the difference was another top priority this cycle, and we significantly exceeded the expectations of pundits and pre-election polling.
We invested in dozens of House races across the country, beginning with competitive primaries where LCVVF was proud to back many non-incumbent, women of color candidates, then began the general election and the kick off of the Climate Voters Mobilization program with Climate Power Action in 20 House races, especially districts of climate champs integral to passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, and ultimately we hit our stride in late summer with near-constant ad launches in battleground House races, many in partnership with climate and progressive allies. We were able to expand our scope and run program in 14 additional House districts in the final weeks of the election, winning at least nine of them, thanks to supporters’ trust in LCVVF’s electoral work.
Some highlights of our 2022 House program included:
- Example ads from the Climate Voters Mobilization with Climate Power Action – targeting climate voters in 25 House districts and 7 Senate races: “Meet,” “Generation,” “Write It Down”
- “Trump’s Plan” – a GOTV ad we ran with Priorities USA Action in IA-03, IL-17, NE-02, NY-19, OR-04, OR-06, and RI-02
- “Ayudemos” – Spanish-language ad in CO-08 about anti-environment candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer’s support for fracking near a school (English translation here)
- “Twilight” – calls out Rep. Herrell’s (NM-02) anti-democratic extremism
- “Solar” – highlights Rep. Levin’s (CA-49) work to create solar jobs
The 28 General Election races where we invested and won this cycle (so far) were: CO-08, CT-05, IL-14, IL-17, KS-03, MI-03, MI-07, MI-08, MN-02, NH-01, NH-02, NJ-03, NM-02, NV-01, NV-03, NV-04, NC-13, OH-01, OH-09, OH-13, OR-04, OR-06, PA-07, PA-08, PA-12, RI-02, VA-07, and WA-08.
The 4 House primaries where we invested and won this cycle were: IL-06, OR-06, PA-12, RI-02
Races where we invested but are still too close to call: CA-27, CA-47, and CA-49. All of our work in 2022 House races can be found here.
The States – $36 million
In state elections up and down the ballot, we saw a Green Wave of environmental champions elected. Control of governor’s mansions and state legislatures has a profound impact on our environment. Because of state level action, 40% of the country now lives in a place committed to 100% clean electricity. Ensuring there are environmental champions in these key positions is crucial to effectively implement historic climate and clean energy funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and to continue making progress on climate and clean energy with state level policy. That’s why our state affiliates invested $19.5 million in Governors races this year, spending $3.3 million specifically to turn out voters who care about climate change.
For a full breakdown of these races, please see our election results memo highlighting the Green Wave we saw in state elections this year.
Our state affiliates’ top priority gubernatorial races this cycle to protect or pick-up were:
- WON: Arizona, Katie Hobbs – $450,000
- WON: Colorado, Governor Jared Polis – $50,000
- WON: Maine, Governor Janet Mills – $600,000
- WON: Maryland, Governor Wes Moore – $25,000
- WON: Massachusetts, Governor Maura Healey – $140,000
- WON: Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer – $2.9 million
- WON: Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz – $750,000
- LOST: Nevada, Governor Steve Sisolak – $4.4 million
- WON: New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham – $600,000
- WON: Oregon, Tina Kotek – $1.5 million
- WON: Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro – $2.6 million
- WON: Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers – $3 million
Our state affiliates were also involved in the Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey (2021), Ohio, and Virginia (2021) governors’ races.
Some ad highlights from our state affiliates’ 2022 governors program: “Big” (MI Gov), “Leadership” (NM Gov), “Look” (PA Gov), “A Choice” (WI Gov).
Our state affiliates’ top priority state legislative campaigns this cycle to expand, pick-up or defend as pro-climate were:
- TOO CLOSE TO CALL: Arizona – $104,000
- TOO CLOSE TO CALL: California – $710,000
- DEFENDED: Colorado – $1.5M
- DEFENDED: Maine – $224,000
- FLIPPED: Michigan – $950,00
- FLIPPED: Minnesota Senate – $380,000
- DID NOT PREVENT SUPERMAJORITY: Montana – $230,000
- DEFENDED: Nevada – $136,000
- TOO CLOSE TO CALL: New Hampshire – $20,000
- DEFENDED: New Mexico House – $300,000
- PROTECTED GOVERNOR COOPER’s VETO: North Carolina – $475,000
- PROTECTED GOVERNOR EVERS’ VETO: Wisconsin – $600,000
We also know we cannot have a healthy environment without a healthy democracy. Our state affiliates prioritized Attorneys General races in Colorado, Massachusetts (Primary), Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and Wisconsin. They invested in State Supreme Court races in Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio, and for Secretaries of State in Arizona, Michigan, and Nevada.
Key wins in state AG, Secretary of State, and Supreme Court races included:
- Elected Adrian Fontes Arizona Secretary of State
- Reelected Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser
- Reelected Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, defeating Dirty Dozen member Matthew DePerno
- Reelected Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison
- Protected Michigan state Supreme Court
- Protected Montana state Supreme Court
- Reelected Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
- Elected Cisco Aguilar Nevada Secretary of State, defeating Dirty Dozen member Jim Marchant
- Reelected Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford
- Reelected Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul
For a full breakdown of the results of AG, SOS, and state supreme court races where our state affiliates invested, please see our election results memo highlighting the Green Wave we saw in state elections this year.
Also in the states, CVNM Verde Voters Fund invested $250,000 in the race for New Mexico Land Commissioner and won this vital environmental office. Stephanie Garcia Richard has been a champion for climate and conservation. Because of Richard’s commitment to the environment, she had been previously targeted by the oil and gas industry.
GiveGreen – $27 million (update, increased from $26 million a week before the election)
$27 million was raised for federal and state candidates through GiveGreen, a project of LCV Victory Fund and NRDC Action Votes, in this election cycle — blowing past our 2018 midterm total and further cementing GiveGreen as the biggest single-issue fundraising platform of any progressive group following our banner year in 2020. Of the $27 million, GiveGreen donors raised over $7.7 million for Senate candidates, over $9.4 million for House candidates, and over $8.9 million for gubernatorial candidates and down-ballot races. This historic effort was fueled by grassroots donors from across the country energized in support of climate champions up and down the ballot.
A detailed summary of LCV’s member mobilization work, as well as LCV Action Fund’s endorsements can be found here.
Separate from important candidate races across the country, our state affiliates helped pass a historic climate and environmental justice ballot measure in New York and a voting rights ballot initiative in Michigan.
New York LCV helped pass the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, an historic investment in the state’s environment. It includes $650 million for clean water infrastructure and replacing lead pipes, $1.1 billion to make communities more resilient to flooding and $1.5 billion for climate mitigation, including $500 million allocated for schools to purchase electric school buses and $400 million to green schools and public buildings, and $650 million in parks and open space, with at least 35% of the funds dedicated to disadvantaged communities.
Michigan League of Conservation Voters, through its ballot question committee Our Water Our Democracy, invested $275,000 and helped pass Michigan’s Prop 2, a constitutional amendment that would significantly reform voting policies to be more equitable for Michigan voters with the inclusion of early voting, more absentee ballot boxes and paid postage, auditing done by election officials only, and election certification based solely on votes cast.
Paid for by LCV Victory Fund, www.lcvvictoryfund.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.