Key Senate Races: Retrospective

The toss-up races came out 50/50, with the pro-environmental candidates winning 4 out of 8 elections.

In a post last March, I explained the environmental stakes in eight toss-up Senate races. We now know how those races came out.  Vindicating the laws of probability, the results of the toss-ups were evenly divided between the two parties. In terms of the overall election picture, I said: “The odds are that the Republicans will continue to control the Senate in 2018. The electoral map is very unfavorable to the Democrats, with many vulnerable Democrats up for reelection and only two such Republicans.”

Here are the results, along with the environmental implications, with states won by the more environment-friendly candidate in green.

  • Arizona. Incumbent Jeff Flake (R) didn’t run for reelection.The match-up was Martha McSally, a Republican with a lifetime 6% LCV score, versus Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, with an LCV score of 78%. Sinema won.
  • Indiana.   The incumbent was Joe Donnelly (D), who has a 58% lifetime LCV score. He faced businessman Mike Braun, who benefitted from Trump’s endorsement at an Indiana rally. Donnelly lost.
  • Missouri. The incumbent, Claire McCaskill (D), had a 74% lifetime LCV score.  She lost to Josh Hawley, a staunch conservative who has mostly avoided saying anything about environmental issues.
  • Montana.   The incumbent was Jon Tester (D), with an 86% lifetime LCV score. His opponent was state auditor Matt Rosendale, who won his primary with heavy support from conservative groups and figures such as Ted Cruz.  Rosendale’s website promises to fight “radical environmentalists . . . every step of the way.” Tester held onto the seat.
  • Nevada. Incumbent Dean Heller (R) had a 13% lifetime score from LCV. In my earlier post, I said that “Heller’s views may be a bit out of touch with the voters, judging from recent renewable energy initiatives in the state.”The Democratic opponent was Rep. Jackie Rosen, who has a 97% LCV lifetime score. Rosen won.
  • North Dakota. The incumbent, Heidi Heitkamp (D), had a 50% lifetime score.   Her opponent was Rep. Kevin Cramer, with a lifetime LCV score of 1%. Cramer won.
  • Tennessee.   Tennessee  unexpectedly turned out to be in play, due to the candidacy of popular Democratic governor Phil Bredesen. He was pitted against Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who has a lifetime LCV score of 2%. But in the end, Blackburn won.
  • West Virginia. The incumbent was Joe Manchin (D), with a 44% LCV score. Manchin’s opponent was State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.  His website emphasized his crusades against Obama-era environmental regulations. Manchin won. Although he’s got the worst LCV score of any Democrat in the Senate, it’s still much better than the top GOP score.

All of which is further proof that elections matter. And the countdown to Nov. 3, 2020 has begun.

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