Electing Climate Champions

When climate champions step forward and take climate action that benefits us all, EDF Action is there to support them in their electoral efforts. In the aftermath of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we felt a particularly strong obligation to be there for the champions who passed the largest climate investments in our nation’s history.

EDF Action, EDF Action PAC and EDF Action Votes collectively spent over $14 million in the 2022 election cycle, going 10 for 10 in Congressional races, 4 for 4 in U.S. Senate races and winning a majority of the state and local races we engaged in as well. Our goal in our electoral work was not to have the best win-loss record – it was to make sure that every race we invested in was one in which our participation was impactful and perhaps even determinative. Our involvement in some of the closest races in the country demonstrates that we met our goal.

The 2022 electoral work was capped off by helping Davante Lewis defeat an 18-year incumbent to bring an advocate for ratepayers and for clean energy to the Louisiana Public Service Commission. EDF Action and our affiliated entities plan to build on that success in 2023 and beyond, identifying more opportunities to engage in races at the state and local level to drive climate and environmental justice progress forward.

EDF Action advocates are increasingly looking to state and local officeholders to advance our policy goals. Our political team is working closely with our policy leads to develop state-specific political strategies for each of EDF Action’s 13 priority states. Some states require the full arsenal of our political tools, with independent expenditure programs designed to defeat problematic incumbents. Others require more scaled back approached that help build relationships with existing legislators and ensure we can be a resource as policies advance.

In some places, that work includes elections in 2023. Priority states including Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, and North Carolina all have races that have bearing on our policy work in 2023. The coming year will also be critical in states where the candidates will not face voters until 2024. By building closer ties in target states, we can work to help ensure that key races have solid pro-environment candidates running for office, with strong support from allied groups and adequate resources to run winning campaigns.

Since the 2018 midterm elections, EDF Action, EDF Action PAC and EDF Action Votes have been focused on growing our political power with strategic investments across the country – spending nearly $14 million during the 2022 cycle to defend climate champions up-and-down the ballot, making EDF Action Votes the second largest spender in the environmental community. This is on top of the $10 million EDF and EDF Action spent to help pass big, bold climate legislation: the Inflation Reduction Act.