See also Climate and Energy Score Brilliant Wins And Stunning Losses In The States
UPDATED with final results in several races.
Climate-science deniers were ousted from the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, replaced across the country by Democrats calling for investment in clean energy. The election went differently in the Senate, where a hero fell and hopes were quashed.
Nearly every House race prioritized by the Vote Climate U.S. PAC was won by the climate hawk, while the Senate was mixed, with a big win in Nevada and a likely big loss in Florida. See individual races below.
A Congress that's split between a Democratic House and Republican Senate still offers hope for progress in two areas, according to Dylan Reed, the head of congressional affairs for the advocacy group Advanced Energy Economy.
"We see a split chamber with the Democratic House and Republican Senate ultimately leading to two agenda items playing out for advanced energy," Reed said in a webinar ahead of the election last week, "and that’s infrastructure and oversight."
Reed expects bipartisan cooperation on a large infrastructure bill that could include clean-energy projects including an electric-vehicle charging network, buildout of the electric transmission system, and energy-efficiency projects that promote resilience.
With Democrats taking oversight in the House, it's less likely Trump will be able to bail out uneconomic coal and nuclear plants or compromise the independence of the Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission (FERC), Reed said. Democrats will also be poised to ensure that dollars appropriated for energy programs get spent there.
Oversight will also help Democrats expose and oppose the Trump Administration's environmental harms, according to Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum, who is now poised to become chair of the Interior Environment Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Pacific Standard magazine asked McCollum what a Democratic majority would be able to do differently.
"To stop the attacks on science," she said. "To get re-engaged with the international community with climate change. To challenge what the administration is doing in both the EPA and the Interior Committee. To put a check and a balance to the best of my ability, to stop these rollbacks that we're seeing on water and air and the way our public lands are being taken away from the public."
Many, but not all, of the following races were prioritized by the Vote Climate U.S. PAC:
California 49: Climate Wins
Democrat Mike Levin took an early lead in the race for the open seat formerly occupied by climate-science denier Darrel Issa in Orange and San Diego Counties. Issa tried to redeem himself late in his career by joining the bipartisan climate caucus, but his lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters was 4 percent.
Florida 26: Climate Couldn't Lose
Republican incumbent Carlos Curbelo became increasingly attentive to climate concerns as his Southern Florida district grew increasingly threatened. He co-sponsored H.R. 6463, which would have established a carbon tax and used the proceeds for infrastructure improvements. The bill prompted his Republican colleagues, led by Steve Scalise, to vote formally to denounce carbon taxes.Curbelo's effort earned him a 100 rating from the Climate PAC, but it didn't save his job. He lost to Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who has worked for three years for the Coral Restoration Foundation.
Florida 27: Climate Wins
President Bill Clinton's former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala won handily, and she took a strong stance on climate action, calling for the U.S. to remain in the Paris Agreement.
Illinois 6: Climate Wins
Peter Roskam, an 11-year incumbent Republican serving the Chicago suburbs, was dubbed a "climate zero" by the PAC. He lost to Democrat Sean Casten, who founded a company with his father that recycles heat waste from manufacturing operations to generate electricity.
Iowa 1: Climate Wins
Self-proclaimed climate science skeptic Republican Rod Blum was crushed by Democratic challenger Abby Finkenauer, who called for climate mitigation and clean energy development.
Kansas 3: Climate Wins
Democrat Sharice Davids tore Kansas's Third District from Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder, who opposed climate action because he said it would be too expensive for America. The district includes Kansas City.
Michigan 11: Climate Wins
This open seat in Michigan was taken by Democrat Haley Stevens, who prioritized climate action, over Republican Lena Epstein, an oil-company owner who chaired President Trump's Michigan campaign and reportedly said she does not believe in man-made climate change.
Minnesota 2 : Climate Wins
Democrat Angie Craig ousted incumbent Republican Jason Lewis, who sided with the conservative Heartland Institute over NASA on climate science.
Minnesota 3: Climate Wins
Voters elected challenger Dean Phillipsover incumbent Republican Erik Paulsen, who had joined the bipartisan climate caucus but has waffled about the validity of climate science.
Minnesota 5: Climate Wins
Nearby in District 5, however, Democrat Ilhan Omar ran for the open seat on an anti-fossil fuels platform and crushed Republican Jennifer Zelinski, who thinks the climate is changing on its own and opposes a return to the Paris Agreement.
Nevada 3: Climate Wins
Democrat Susie Lee flattened Republican Danny Tarkanian after promising to be a leader on combating climate change, promoting clean energy in Nevada, and fighting Trump policies that damage the environment.
New Jersey 11: Climate Wins
Democrat Mikie Sherrill took the open seat in this Republican stronghold district, defeating Republican Jay Webber. Both candidates had expressed support for climate action, but only Sherrill made it part of her platform.
New Mexico 1: Climate Wins
Native American Democrat Debra Haaland crushed her Republican opponent with a campaign that opposed fossil fuel development and called for 100 percent renewable energy.
North Carolina 9: Climate Loses
Climate advocates had their hopes for this open seat pinned on Democrat Dan McCready, a former Marine who c0-founded a firm that invests in utility-scale solar farms. With all precincts counted early this morning, McCready was trailing by less than 2,000 votes, but a winner had not been declared. His opponent, Republican Mark Harris, has said climate change is not a fact.
Pennsylvania 7: Climate Wins
Democrat Susan Wild took this open seat easily after a campaign in which she attacked deniers of climate science and called for the U.S. to remain in the Paris Agreement.
When it comes to the Senate's climate politics, races are not as simple as Democrat vs. Republican, as you'll see after the jump:
The Vote Climate U.S. PAC downplayed some Senate races that were Democratic priorities, such as Indiana and Missouri, because it labeled the Democratic candidates there weak on climate change. In Indiana, for example, Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly gave lip service to climate action but had voted to repeal the Clean Power Plan. His opponent took no position on climate change, according to the PAC. Donnelly lost yesterday.
Here are a few races where the choices were more clear:
Florida: Climate Loses A Champion
Likely defeated Democratic Senator Bill Nelson consistently voted in favor of climate action and attacked those who denied the science. The Vote Climate U.S. PAC describes him as a "climate hero." His apparently victorious challenger, Gov. Rick Scott, has repeatedly challenged the science, even as Florida has endured rising sea levels and increasingly fierce hurricanes during his tenure, making him, in the PAC's words, a "climate zero." Nelson has not conceded, however, and there will likely be a recount in this close race.
Nevada: Climate Wins
Challenger Jacky Rosen, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Republican Senator Dean Heller, who has expressed doubt about the science of climate change and voted against efforts to curtail carbon pollution. He has a 3.13 score from the Vote Climate U.S. PAC, compared to Rosen's 92.5. However, Advanced Energy Economy considers Heller a clean-energy champion for his support of solar technology and other issues.
Texas: Climate Hope Squashed
Challenger Beto O'Rourke scored a 96.25 climate-change rating compared to zero for Ted Cruz, so climate activists were pushing for Beto. He fell short of a 100 rating only because activists were unable to find a statement from the Democratic rep advocating a fee on carbon. He fell short in the election, too.
Utah: Climate Gains Republican Ally
Utah was the rare state in which the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, scored higher on climate issues than the Democrat, Jenny Wilson. Although both candidates had pledged to support climate action, according to the PAC, Romney went a step further by endorsing a carbon fee. He had tweeted his support for the conservative Carbon Dividend Plan.
Midterm Results: Climate-Science Deniers Run Out Of U.S. House
See also Climate and Energy Score Brilliant Wins And Stunning Losses In The States