Environmental groups are planning to spend a record-setting amount this election cycle in an effort to elect Democrats to office and combat President Donald Trump’s policies.
Fueled by surging donations and anger over the Trump administration’s energy agenda, environmental organizations across the U.S. are planning to spend well over $100 million during the 2018 midterms. The League of Conservation Voters will spend $60 million, surpassing its previous record of $45 million during the 2016 cycle. The Sierra Club expects to spend around $6 million. The Environmental Defense Action Fund predicts it will spend more than $6 million and the National Resources Defense Council will spend around $2 million.
Additionally, NextGen Climate Action — an environmental group bankrolled by activist Tom Steyer — plans to shell out $32 million into an attempt to drive young, progressive voters to the polls. One such strategy includes bringing puppies to registration tents in order to attract college voters’ attention.
Environmental activists are drawn to action in the wake of Trump’s energy agenda, which has included an ambitious rollback of many Obama-era environmental rules. Since entering office, Trump has begun to dismantle a number of climate change regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States. The Republican president further enraged environmentalists when he withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. (RELATED: The Biggest Obama-Era Regulations Rolled Back Under President Trump)
“It will be by far the most money we’ve ever spent,” Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), said in a statement to the Washington Post. “Our supporters around the country are stepping up in a big way because what they’re seeing is the most anti-environmental president in history.”
LCV will dole out around $25 million on Senate and House races, and another $25 million will be directed toward gubernatorial, state and local elections. None of the federal candidates LCV has endorsed are Republicans.
However, many environmentalists do not have the most stellar record when it comes to candidate endorsements. The LCV, for example, spent $19 million on congressional races in the last election cycle, but only 30 percent of that money went toward successful candidates. Steyer spent $86 million during the 2016 election — a failed bid to give Democrats a majority in Congress.
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