Election 2022: Governors
Four tight races will have big impacts on their states.
Although their powers vary in different states, governors are key figures in setting and implementing climate and energy policies. There are several very tight races that could have significant policy impacts. They also have indirect impacts via the governor’s role in electoral matters. Elections in these four states are considered toss-ups. The Democrats are all strong supporters of renewable energy; their opponents barely mention energy or environmental issues.
Katie Hobbs (D) is the state senate’s minority leader. Her “Resilient Arizona” plan focuses on dealing with the drought crisis facing the state, but also calls for more investment in “building a 21st-century clean energy economy.”
Kari Lake (R) is former TV anchor and received strong support from Trump. Her campaign website says little about the environment, though one of her recent twitter posts said “drill baby. drill.” She argues desalinization can solve Arizona’s drought crisis.
Laura Kelly (D) is the incumbent. She has been a strong supporter of renewable energy, which makes a lot of sense in Kansas given its strong wind resource. In 2019, she announced a statewide energy plan that included eliminating barriers to rooftop solar.
Derek Schmidt (R) is the state’s AG. His campaign website stresses his role in enforcing anti-fraud, anti-trafficking, and similar laws.. About the only thing the website says about policy is that as AG he “took the Obama-Biden administration to court” and “defended President Trump’s America First policies that grew jobs, promoted freedom and made our economy strong.”
Steve Sisolak (D) is the incumbent. His website says: “Steve has taken a bold approach to fight climate change and create clean jobs in Nevada. Protecting our environment for the next generation and growing our economy go hand-in-hand and Steve is committed to doing both.”
Joe Lombardo (R) is a county sheriff who was endorsed by Trump. His website focuses on gun rights, immigration, and similar issues. I couldn’t find anything about his views on climate change or renewable energy. Oddly, given his support from Trump, a newspaper interview indicated that he more moderate than his GOP rivals, including possible support for rent control policies and “acknowledging Joe Biden as being legitimately elected.”
Tony Evers (D) is the incumbent. Evers has been very active on climate issues, adding Wisconsin to the U.S. Climate Alliance by embracing the goals of the Paris Agreement, launching an office of sustainability, and setting a zero-carbon goal for 2050.
Tim MIchels (R) owns a big construction company, which had the contract to build eight pumping stations for the Keystone XL pipeline. His “Blueprint for Wisconsin” doesn’t mention the environment. Regarding energy, it calls for “Increase American energy production and distribution to provide low cost and reliable energy for families and businesses all across the state.” It also takes a swipe at “governmental red-tape” and “excessive regulations,” though only in passing.
By and large, the Republicans in these races don’t come across as heavily ideological. The reason may be that Trump’s endorsements had more to do with a candidate’s person support for him than policy positions.
Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…READ more