By Daniela Schulman, Volunteer
Elections happen all the time, not just in the typical midterm and presidential seasons. That’s why Climate Cabinet is preparing now to support local climate champions up for election in 2023 in key states like Virginia. And these candidates need your help!
The way we see it, there is no off season. Climate Cabinet is always thinking strategically about the next key climate wins and how to best support those campaigns through early engagement.
Early dollars are one of the most impactful ways to support a campaign. We are laser-focused on raising early money for exceptional pro-climate candidates in tight races, especially in vital elections that happen at unusual times. So while energy is running high for the upcoming 2022 midterms, join us in supporting climate champions now who will be up for election in 2023.
Why does early money matter?
Running for office is expensive. Too often, strong candidates can’t run successful campaigns because their fundraising machine kicks into gear too little, too late. This prevents candidates with fewer resources – often, candidates from diverse backgrounds more reflective of the American public – from getting to the start line. And, it means great candidates who don’t want to rely on corporate donors have less support getting through tough primaries. That’s where we step in.
Simply put, donating early helps climate champions win. Basic campaign infrastructure, like a skilled field director, requires early investment and pays major dividends down the road.
When it comes to climate action, early support makes a big impression on a candidate. For individuals, donating at least four months ahead of an election (especially a primay!) sends a powerful signal that climate is on your mind and should be a top priority on the candidate’s platform. At the organizational level, early endorsements and donations push candidates to support strong climate policy aligned with their first major backers, and may attract other green donors.
Climate Cabinet actively tracks thousands of political opportunities across the country to identify the key races—from mayors to city councils to state legislatures—with the highest climate value. That’s where crucial pre-primary dollars for pro-climate candidates can make a huge difference. Virginia is a great example: this state is key to influencing climate policy throughout the South. With off-cycle elections coming up in 2023, how the votes swing in Virginia will be seen as trendsetting for the upcoming presidential election.
Virginia on the line
Under Democratic party leadership in 2020 and 2021, the Virginia state legislature passed major climate bills into law. The state passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) that includes a 100% clean energy target by 2045. The Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act directs Virginia to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) carbon market. In 2021, Virginia also became the first state in the South to establish low- and zero-emissions vehicle mandates. These wins established Virginia as a climate leader.
All of this progress is now under threat. In November of 2021, Republicans took control of the House of Delegates. During the last session, right-wing legislators made numerous attacks on the climate and clean energy laws passed under Democratic leadership. These attacks are inconsistent with public opinion: 67% of Virginia voters support the VCEA and the RGGI.
Virginia achieved an ambitious climate and clean energy agenda, and Climate Cabinet is dedicated to keeping those programs intact. Join us in holding the Senate and flipping the Virginia House in 2023!