Although Republican gains are considered likely in the Senate, control of that chamber probably will come down to the outcome of contests in Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, West Virginia, California and Washington.
In Nevada, the race is too close to call, the turnout may end up being the deciding factor. In this battle to the wire, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faces Republican Sharron Angle, the tea party candidate who raised $14 million in the past quarter. During the Nevada Senate debate, Reid and Angle predictably clashed over the environment and how best to create jobs.
The Colorado Senate race is almost neck-and-neck, with Democrat Michael Bennet inching closer to Republican Ken Buck. Turnout could be the deciding factor in this campaign as well with 72% of Republicans saying they are certain to vote, compared with just 55% of Democrats.
Colorado’s Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet bills himself as “the best senator money can’t buy” and blasts ruling Democrats as being too timid on the environment. He believes the government must act aggressively to reduce greenhouse gases and drive the expansion of renewable energy through tax subsidies and the use of federal land. GOP challenger and Tea Party favorite Buck barely acknowledges that there is such a thing as the environment. Buck has openly challenged the science behind global climate change and believes the federal government should keep out of state energy policies.
In Illinois, there is a back and forth race to the bottom between Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias. At Chicago’s senate debate, Giannoulias opening remarks included a comment that acknowled the, “failure to address our environmental challenges.”
Although Democrats chances have improved in West Virginia, most polls give Republican John Raese a 7-10 point lead over his Democratic opponent Joe Manchin III. During a talk to 45 people at the Inter-Service Club luncheon at the Charleston Civic Center, Raese called for an end to laws regulating air quality, water pollution and minimum wages.” In his appearance before Charleston’s merged civic clubs, Raese said he would abolish federal pollution controls-apparently meaning that polluters could dump all the poisonous waste they want into people’s drinking water and the air they breathe. In fairness, Manchin is also trying to attempting to capitalize on West Virginians’ fears and ignorance. In a political stunt that appears to be designed to appeal to the Tea Party, Manchin, actually fired a bullet through last year’s House-passed bill that included provisions for cap-and-trade.
The California contest for the Senate pits Democrat Barbara Boxer against Republican Carly Fiorina. Boxer currently leads this race by a very slight margin. Boxer is currently chief deputy majority whip, Boxer is known for her outspoken support of environmental protection. The California Senate debate revealed some of the sharpest differences over the question of whether environmental regulation can create jobs. Fiornina wants the state’s landmark climate change law to be put on hold. Californians will also be voting on Proposition 23.
The Polls in Washington state show the incumbent Democrat has a small lead and the chances of defeating Republican challenger Dino Rossi have improved. Three-term Democratic Sen. Patty Murray has shown her support for environmental sustainability including securing $2 million for algae research at WSU last year. These funds will be used to develop new strategies for the production of renewable fuel sources.
In most of these races there are clear choice between candidates with a strong environmental record and candidates who are beholden to the old energy economy. In the end voter turnout is likely to be a key deciding factor, victory may go to whichever party succeeds in mobilizing a larger percentage of their base.
The 2010 Midterms and the Fight Against Climate Change
Election 2010 Midterm Predictions
Democrat’s Chances in the 2010 Midterms
Republican Political Finance and the Midterm Elections
Republican Strategy for the 2010 Midterms and Beyond
Republican’s Anti-Science Stance on Global Warming
The Tea Party and Republican Obstructionism
Tea Party Candidates and O’Donnell’s Constitution Confusion
Tea Party’s Climate Change Denial
Climate Change is an Economic and a Security Issue
How to get Through to Climate Change Deniers
Deniers Deprived of Misinformation Strategy
The Dangerous Diversion of Climategate
California’s Proposition 23
The Global Work Party and US Midterm Elections
Republicans Undermining Climate Legislation
What is Wrong with the Right
Health Care Legislation and Implications for the Environment
Green Stimulus Spending and Republican Opposition
Van Jones Succumbs to Republican Pressure
Why We Did Not Get A Binding Agreement At COP15
Obama Needs the Senate to Succeed on Climate Change
Limbaugh Blames the Sierra Club for Oil Spill
Palin Blames Environmentalists for Oil Spill
Palin Renews Call for Offshore Oil Exploitation
Sarah Palin Belongs on Fox Not Discovery
Sarah Palin: Tea Party Queen but No Friend of Green
Palin is No Friend of Green
The New International System: The Role of Government