What We’re Watching
We’re highlighting election night results and how they will effect the environment and energy agenda. Keep checking back for more updates.
Marijuana Initiative Passes in California
California voters adopted a ballot measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the Associated Press projects. The ballot measure also authorizes taxes on the sale and cultivation of marijuana, with some of that new tax revenue directed toward environmental cleanup. Twenty percent of the revenue designated by that tax will be used to support the cleanup and prevention of environmental damage related to illegal marijuana growing operations, including illegal water use and pesticide runoff.
The measure was endorsed by the California League of Conversation Voters.
Democrats Holding Nevada After Reid’s Retirement
Democratic challenger, former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, was running ahead of Republican Joe Heck, with 50.6 percent of votes cast to 42.2 percent, with 60 percent of precincts reporting.
The Nevada election is to decide Republican the successor to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D), who is retiring after 30 years in the Senate.
Ayotte, Rare GOP Defender of Obama Climate Agenda, Holds Slight Lead
Incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) had a slight lead over Democratic challenger Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) as of 11:30 p.m. Ayotte was holding a lead of 49.2 percent to 46.6 for her challenger.
The incumbent Republican is considered moderate on environment and climate issues, so it’s unclear that defeating Ayotte would improve the odds for environment and climate bills. Also: Ayotte was the first Republican to back the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
The League of Conservation Voters gave Ayotte a score of 56 percent in the 2015 National Environment Scorecard. That’s higher than two Senate Democrats: Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.).
Pennsylvania Senate: Rare Good News for Democrats Tonight
Democratic challenger Katie McGinty is leading incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey with 49.1 percent to 46.9 percent of the vote, with 70 percent of precincts reporting.
McGinty is a strong supporter of climate action and served as chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Bill Clinton.
Latest: Trump Takes North Carolina; Clinton Snags California, Hawaii
Donald Trump has won North Carolina, a state considered a toss-up earlier in the night. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton as expected won California and Hawaii.
These states leave Trump lagging slightly behind Clinton with several key battleground states to go. The current electoral count is 190 for Clinton and 186 for Trump.
Clinton Clinches Colorado; Trump Takes Florida
Hillary Clinton has won the swing state of Colorado, while Donald Trump has taken the hotly contested state of Florida. It isn’t out of bounds for Clinton to reach 270 electoral votes, but as of now Trump has a hefty electoral college lead.
All eyes are watching Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three key states for Clinton to win to make up for the early losses.
Latest: Wisconsin Senate: Republican Ron Johnson Surging
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a fierce advocate of what he considers overzealous environmental regulations under the Obama administration, is leading Democratic challenger Russ Feingold, 52.7 percent to 44.6 percent, with 45 percent of precincts reporting.
Trump Beats Clinton in Ohio
Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the battleground state of Ohio, taking its 18 electoral votes. That leaves Trump with 167 electoral votes versus Clinton’s 109 electoral votes.
Burr Wins in North Carolina Senate Race
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) beat back a challenge from the Democratic challenger Deborah Ross in a race Democrats had hoped to win.
The defeat narrows even further the path for Democrats to clinch the majority in the Senate. So far, Tammy Duckworth is the only Democrat to flip a Republican seat in the Senate.
Burr has been a staunch opponent of Obama environmental actions, including having introduced a bill in late 2011 that would have combined the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency to address what he said were “duplicative functions” of the agencies.
Clinton Trailing in Florida and North Carolina, Wins One in Virginia
Hillary Clinton is only leading Donald Trump in Virginia 47.7 percent to 47.2 percent, but Fox News is calling the state for Clinton—with 83 percent of precincts reporting.
Latest: One Republican Member of Climate Caucus Wins, Another Loses
Climate Solutions Caucus member Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) retained his seat, a win that prompted praise from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on Twitter.
Meanwhile, caucus member Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) lost to Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida who’s now a Democrat and focused on climate change action during his time in state leadership. President Barack Obama endorsed Crist in his race.
Latest: Donald Trump Takes Major Fossil Fuel Producing States
Donald Trump so far has won Texas, Wyoming, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia—many of the key coal, oil and gas development states in the nation.
Those and other states give the Republican nominee 129 electoral votes, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 97 electoral votes.
A major tenet of Trump’s energy and economic platforms have been opening up federal lands for additional energy production, which he said would boost domestic jobs and make the country more energy secure.
Clinton also was hit in those states for, among other reasons, her comment in March that “we are going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Her energy policy focused on shifting the country from fossil fuels to renewable energy at an aggressive pace, even as she acknowledged that fossil fuels such as natural gas couldn’t be cut out immediately.
Justice Headed for W.Va.’s Governor’s Mansion
Coal magnate Jim Justice will be the next governor of West Virginia, the Associated Press projects. Justice, a Democrat, defeated Republican Bill Cole.
Justice owns dozens of coal mines and told Bloomberg BNA last week that he plans to boost the state’s economy through new incentives for state power plants to burn West Virginia coal. He also pointed to rising prices for metallurgical coal, used in steel production, as an encouraging sign for the coal industry.
Gang of Eight Cap-and-Trade Republicans
And then there were four.
Republican Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who was the first incumbent Republican senator to be defeated tonight, according to projections, was one of eight Republicans to vote for the Democratic-led cap and trade bill in 2009.
The others were Reps. John McHugh (N.Y.), Dave Reichert (Wash.), Christopher Smith (N.J.), Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Michael Castle (Del.), Leonard Lance (N.J.) and Frank LoBiondo (N.J.).
With Kirk gone, only four of those Republicans remain in Congress (as of tonight), and all four of them are in the House: Reichert, Smith, Lance and LoBiondo.
Clinton Has Slight Lead in Electoral Votes
Hillary Clinton has won eight states and the District of Columbia, equaling 97 electoral votes. That’s only slightly more than Donald Trump’s 13 states and 84 electoral votes.
It’s early yet. The president-elect will need 270 electoral college votes.
Some major states still TBD are Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. All are too close to call at the moment.
Update: Republicans Keep House Majority
Republicans will retain control of the House, NBC News is reporting. The Republican majority in the chamber isn’t surprising; however, it means energy and environment dynamics are likely to remain largely unchanged in the House.
Expect continued opposition to climate change opposition and tough oversight of a Clinton presidency, should she take the White House.
Trailing in North Carolina, Trump Pulls Ahead in Florida
While he trails in North Carolina, Donald Trump is leading Florida with a lot of the vote in. With 91 percent of the vote tally in, he leads Hillary Clinton, 49.1 percent to 47.8 percent.
Clinton Leads in North Carolina
Hillary Clinton is leading with 49.9 percent of the vote in North Carolina, a key battleground state; Trump has 47.6 percent. There are 61 percent of votes being reported.
Update: Florida Solar Ballot Measure Supporters Concede
Solar advocates claim victory after a Florida ballot measure backed by utilities fell short of the 60 percent threshold it needed for passage.
Voters rejected Amendment 1, which would have established a “constitutional right” under Florida law for consumers to use solar power. However, the measure also included language that said consumers who don’t use solar shouldn’t have to subsidize those who do by covering costs of grid maintenance and backup power availability.
The measure was opposed by the state’s solar industry and climate advocates, including former Vice President Al Gore, who said the amendment would “just kill the solar industry” in Florida if adopted.
Update: Young Defeats Bayh in Indiana
Evan Bayh, a former Indiana senator who jumped into the Senate race to challenge Republican Todd Young in July, has fallen short, a setback for Democrats who need to look elsewhere to pick up seats.
Bayh was among those who voted for Senate cap and trade legislation the last time it was brought to the floor in 2008, where it fell well short of the 60 votes needed.
Update: Van Hollen Wins in Maryland
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), a leading proponent of carbon tax and other climate change legislation, is the projected winner of a Maryland Senate seat, one vacated by retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D). Van Hollen is a member of the House Democratic leadership.
Update: Trump and Clinton Neck and Neck in Florida
Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) are running neck and neck in Florida with 87 percent of voters reported; each have 48.5 percent of the vote.
Update: AP Calls Rubio for Florida Senate Seat
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who decided in the end to run for re-election after falling short in his bid for the GOP president nomination, is projected to win his race over Democrat Patrick Murphy, according to the AP.
Murphy was a strong advocate for climate action, while Rubio has questioned the impacts of climate change on his home state.
Update: Kirk falls to Duckworth
Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk is projected to lose his seat to Democrat Tammy Duckworth, NBC News and Fox News are projecting. Kirk is one of the few Republicans to have voted for the Democratic-led cap and trade bill in 2009, when he was a House member.
Kirk, who has earned League of Conservation Voters lifetime score of 57 percent for environmental votes, is the first incumbent Republican to lose in an election where Democrats are battling for the Senate majority.
What’s at Stake
Democrats need to net four Senate seats to take the majority — if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, and her vice president breaks the tie in the Senate. If Trump wins, Democrats need a five-seat gain.
Update: Portman Holds On
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has been projected by CBS News to hold off challenger Democrat Ted Strickland. Portman initially was thought to be vulnerable to a challenge by Strickland, the former Democratic governor.
On environmental and climate issues, Portman has pointed to his leadership role on energy bills in recent years, particularly legislation to boost energy efficiency. In some of these efforts, Portman has picked up Democratic support.
Portman has a 20 percent lifetime score for environmental votes, according to the League of Conservation Voters.
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