OLCV PAC Pre-Election Memo: Largest-Ever Electoral Investment

In Election by OLCVstaff

TO:  Interested Parties
FROM: Doug Moore Executive Director,
Oregon League of Conservation Voters PAC
DATE: Friday, November 2, 2018
RE: UPDATE-FINAL COUNTDOWN TO ’18 ELECTIONS
CONTACT: Doug Moore | (503) 224-4011 | dmoore@olcv.org

In 2018, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters PAC (OLCV PAC) invested more than $1 million to re-elect Governor Kate Brown, support candidates for the Oregon Senate and House who are committed to continuing Oregon’s leadership of protecting our air, land, water, and climate, and help elect environmental and climate champions running for local offices. This spending represents OLCV PAC’s largest electoral investment ever.

OLCV PAC has a long history of smart investments in key races, particularly when Oregon’s environmental legacy and our future environmental and climate leadership are at stake. After significant investments in the 2014 elections, Oregon made progress on a variety of environmental priorities, including passing Oregon’s Clean Fuels law in 2015, which has already cut 1 million tons of carbon pollution from Oregon’s fuel supply, and in passing 2016’s landmark Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act, making Oregon’s electricity coal-free by 2030 and doubling the renewable energy standard to 50% by 2040.

There is widespread support for further action on climate change. And the time to build on this progress – by passing the Clean Energy Jobs bill in 2019 – is now. In this year’s governor’s race, voters have responded to Brown’s strong record and commitment to protecting our environment and fighting climate change over Rep. Knute Buehler’s “F” lifetime rating on OLCV’s environmental scorecard and over $1 million in contributions from big polluters. From the debate stage to TV screens to mobile and computer screens to conversations with individual voters going door-to-door, environmental issues and climate change broke through in the most-watched race in the state.

We still have a final sprint before the deadline for all ballots to be in at 8pm on Tuesday night, but one thing is clear: Oregon’s environmental community has stepped up in a huge way to ensure that our elected leaders hear the priorities of people across this state who want to address climate change in a meaningful way, protect our clean air and water, and preserve what we love about Oregon for generations to come.

See below for an overview of OLCV PAC’s 2018 political work.

Over $1 Million Invested

OLCV PAC’s over $1 million in 2018 electoral spending went toward direct voter contact, TV ads, direct mail to voters on environmental issues, digital persuasion ads, and investment in individual campaigns by OLCV PAC and through GiveGreen in the States.

· Digital: $200,000 digital program focused on ads stating the facts of Buehler’s record on the environment and campaign contributions from big polluters.

· Environmental Mail: Two environmental mail pieces sent from OLCV PAC to voters in the two most competitive state senate races – SD 3 and 26.

· Investment in Key House Races: Alongside our partners and allies, OLCV PAC invested in TV ads, radio, and digital programs in house races where environmental candidates and incumbents were in close races.

· Field: The environmental community mobilized volunteers across the state to contribute more than 20,000 doors to coordinated field efforts with partners and allies to support champions like Governor Kate Brown and other critical House and Senate races, including State Rep. Janelle Bynum in House District 51, Chrissy Reitz for Senate District 26, and Anna Williams for House District 52. Over 130,000 OLCV texts have been sent to environmental voters in support of Brown.

· Direct contributions: Over $600,000 contributed by OLCV PAC to Governor Kate Brown and candidates running for state Senate and House races.

· GiveGreen: Environmental donors contributed over $205,000 directly to Governor Kate Brown’s re-election campaign via GiveGreen, a project of LCV Victory Fund and NextGen America.

Climate Change and the Environment Break Through

Climate change, Oregon’s clean air and water, and protecting our environment for future generations were defining issues in the governor’s race, and the distinction between Brown and Buehler on these issues was clearer than on any others.

In early October, The Oregonian’s investigative reporter Rob Davis published an article uncovering the campaign contributions to Buehler. The article’s title: “Knute Buehler says he isn’t taking anti-environment money. He’s gotten more than $850,000.” The article dives into some of the biggest backers of Buehler’s campaign, especially his ties to big timber. It also makes it clear that while Buehler may claim to care about the environment, his actions say something different. Davis reports: “As a state representative, Buehler has earned a lifetime failing grade from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. Though he says climate change is real, he opposes the state’s cap-and-trade legislation to address it.”

In the first debate, the first question was on climate change. In all three debates, climate change and the environment were discussed and the differences between Brown and Buehler were stark. The first debate’s questions were all from young people and when that first question on climate change was asked, Buehler’s answer was a disappointment. While Buehler said he believed in climate change, he had no solutions for what to do about it. In contrast, Brown made it very clear that not only did she believe in climate change, but that “future generations will judge us not on the fact of global climate change, but what we have done to tackle it.” And she has been a leader on doing just that, signing the Clean Fuels Program into law and championing the Clean Energy Jobs bill.

In the second debate, Buehler continued to side with big polluters when he said his first cut if elected governor would be Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. This despite the fact that the program has been incredibly successful at cutting pollution from Oregon’s transportation sector. The third debate brought even more pointed questioning of Buehler’s stance on climate change and illustrated the clear choice between him and Brown. Steve Duin, columnist at The Oregonian and a moderator for the third debate, began his question with, “Rep. Buehler, you’ve made leadership an issue in the campaign, and I’m searching for some on climate change.”

From the beginning, Brown has included protecting the environment in her campaign from her strong record to her vision for the future. Her early ads featured her environmental values. And recently, the Brown campaign released an ad featuring her leadership on the environment, saying “the Oregon League of Conservation Voters says Brown is the best governor on the environmental issues in a generation.” In another ad from the Brown campaign, Buehler’s terrible record on the environment is highlighted.

The differences between Brown and Buehler on the environment and climate change have been prominent in this race. In the Eugene Weekly’s editorial endorsement of Brown, they wrote, “this political race really is about women’s right to choose as well as climate change, two issues that stand to lose if Buehler is at the helm.” Additional coverage includes:

Oregon Public Broadcasting, 10/18/18
Where They Stand: Oregon’s Gubernatorial Candidates On Climate Change

Eugene Weekly, 10/25/18
How Green is Brown? With environmental catastrophe at stake, Kate Brown outshines her opponent

The Oregonian, 10/22/18
Kate Brown, Knute Buehler find little common ground on climate change

Willamette Week, 10/19/18
Oregon Environmental Group Putting Record Resources into Governor’s Race

Winning Down Ballot – State Senate and State House Races

In concert with our partners, OLCV PAC has worked to elect a strong pro-environment and pro-climate majority to the Oregon Senate by prioritizing one open seat and one challenger in the state senate races. In addition, OLCV PAC, alongside our partners, has been working to protect and expand our pro-environment and pro-climate majority to the Oregon House by prioritizing two incumbents, one open seat, and two challengers in state house races. OLCV PAC raised and invested more than $200,000 in prioritized senate and house races in total this cycle.

Key endorsed candidates include:

Prioritized incumbents

o HD 20 – Paul Evans (D – Monmouth, Salem)
o HD 51 – Janelle Bynum (D – Happy Valley, East Portland)

Prioritized open seats

o SD 3 – Jeff Golden (D – Southern Oregon), open seat
o HD 32 – Tiffiny Mitchell (D – North Coast), open seat

Prioritized challengers

o SD 26 – Chrissy Reitz (D – Hood River, Sandy, Happy Valley, East PDX), challenger
o HD 37 – Rachel Prusak (D – West Linn, Tualatin), challenger
o HD 52 – Anna Williams (D – Hood River, Sandy, Gresham), challenger

Moving Forward

With so much on the line, Oregonians across the state are responding to where candidates stand on protecting our air, water, land, and climate. If Oregonians elect climate and environmental champions up and down the ballot, as they look likely to do, Oregon’s future will be bright with cleaner water and air, polluters paying their fair share, and public lands that will be protected for future generations.

By re-electing Governor Kate Brown and other champions running for the senate and house, Oregon will pass the Clean Energy Jobs bill in 2019 to put a limit and price on climate pollution from the largest polluters in the state. Oregon will protect our air and water with the Oregon Environmental Protection Act to ensure rollbacks to water and air standards at the federal level don’t hurt Oregonians. Oregon will protect our coast from the Trump Administration’s threat of offshore drilling, and much more.

Making progress is not possible without leaders who will put our communities ahead of polluters, which is why OLCV PAC made its largest-ever investment in electing leaders committed to protecting what we love about Oregon and willing to provide consistent leadership to protect, preserve and improve Oregon’s environment for all. No matter the result next Tuesday, our work will continue.

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Paid for by Oregon League of Conservation Voters PAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate political action committee.