Election Update: The Ryan Effect, Florida & Other Musings

Posted by: Mike Dunmyer

Happy Friday, Champs!  In keeping with our new tradition, here’s the latest intel on some of the key races for ocean politics:

Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate may not appear to have any relationship to building champions for ocean conservation, but it just may.  The DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) has found that the Ryan budget is highly unpopular in some critical swing races and is beginning to play it up.  In New Jersey’s third district, where we’ve endorsed challenger Shelley Adler against incumbent Congressman Jon Runyan (a really, really bad guy on ocean issues), the DCCC is calling voters to let them know that Runyan voted FOR the Ryan budget, and its changes to Medicare.  This race is close, with most insiders giving the edge to Runyan, but we’ll see if this tactic has any impact.

In addition to New Jersey, the Ryan budget is being highlighted in California’s 52nd District where we just endorsed challenger Scott Peters against ocean bad guy, Congressman Brian Bilbray.  Bilbray voted for the Ryan budget as well, and polling has found that 35% of independent voters and 42% of swing voters were opposed to this plan.  Previously, polling showed Bilbray behind “Anyone else” by a count of 51-42.  Peters is a strong candidate and an excellent ocean champion, so hopefully these trends will continue.

Florida held its primary this week, setting up two important races.  First, we found out state Senator Al Lawson will be the Democratic challenger to Ocean Enemy #1, Congressman Steve Southerland in Florida’s 2nd District.  Lawson beat his closest challenger (Leonard Bembry) 52 – 28 and is a strong campaigner.  Stay tuned for lots more as we get busy in FL-2!

In addition, the Florida Senate race is now set, with Congressman Connie Mack winning the right to challenge incumbent Senator Bill Nelson.  Both Nelson and Mack have been endorsed ocean champions for years, setting up the first head to head matchup of champions since we started in 2004.  A Rasmussen poll conducted just after the primary showed Senator Nelson with a 47 – 40 lead over Congressman Mack.

Hawaii also held its primary last week, and Ocean Champions-endorsed Mazie Hirono beat Ed Case to earn the right to face Republican primary winner Linda Lingle.  A pre-primary poll conducted by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (the same poll that correctly predicted the margin of victory for Hirono against Case) showed Hirono up on Lingle by 19 points (58 – 39).  That gives us hope, but we expect this to be a close race with lots of Super PAC activity, and we’ll be doing everything we can to help Congresswoman Hirono.

A poll from environmental groups was just released for the New Mexico Senate race, showing Ocean Champions-endorsed Martin Heinrich opening up a 9 point lead on Republican candidate Heather Wilson.  Most recent polling has showed Congressman Heinrich up by 4 – 6 points, so it appears that Congressman Heinrich is weathering the $1.7 Million Super campaign against him.

That’s all for now.  Keep checking out our list of endorsed candidates as they’ll be new announcements each week, and check back on Fridays for the election updates!


Date Posted: August 17, 2012 @ 9:27 am Comments Off


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