Billionaire Target 2014 Races Over Climate Change Issue   Leave a comment

Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Steyer:

Retired billionaire financier Tom Steyer intends to raise up to $100 million this election cycle “to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers,” according to the New York Times. The California Democrat is currently building a liberal political network to rival the conservative groups financed by Charles and David Koch.

According to the Times, Steyer hosted “two dozen of the country’s leading liberal donors and environmental philanthropists” at his ranch in Pescadero, Calif., earlier this month. There, he pitched his plan to raise $50 million from donors, a sum he pledged to match. That money would be used in specific midterm elections, such as the Florida gubernatorial race or the Iowa U.S. Senate race.(Real Clear Politics)

This makes sense, on the surface: with the gads of money the Right is pouring into the 2014 midterms, any support that can be used to offset their money, by-and-large, is a good thing. On the other hand, you might be wondering why I opened this blog post with the line about being careful what you wish for….I can think of one example off the top of my head: the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Arkansas.

What happened in that election is pretty much why I opened this post with the line above; going into the election season, it would be very fair to say that incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln was vulnerable; a Blue Dog ConservaDem in an (a)increasingly conservative state and conversely (b)an increasingly progressive Democratic Senate caucus. These two factors led to Lincoln essentially getting turfed out of that seat thanks to former Lt.Gov. Bill Halter, who just about defeated her in the Democratic primary, forcing a runoff election that weakened her even further so that, by the time the general election rolled along, then-Rep. John Boozman pretty much won going away, with a margin of 59-36 over Lincoln.

The lesson here (a lesson I really hope someone tells Mr. Steyer at some point) is that, while its’ a good thing to challenge elected officials at times, sometimes the result isn’t what we want to see….instead of Sen. Lincoln, who might’ve kept that seat in Democratic hands even with the wave election of 2010, the two-round primary campaign agst. her effectively killed any chance the Dems’ had to hold that seat and consequently, given Arkansas’s increasingly conservative tilt, now makes it even harder to make gains and/or hold onto Democratic seats now. Smooth move, progressives…let’s just hope Mr. Steyer’s efforts don’t repeat those results this go-round…


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