Enviros Aim to Unseat Sen. Lincoln

Photo courtesy of Lincoln's Senate website.


Is Blanche Lincoln the dirtiest member of Congress? The League of Conservation Voters thinks so. The group named the Arkansas Democrat the inaugural member of their 2010 Dirty Dozen—a list of top targets for environmentalists to unseat in the next election.

Lincoln is “one of the worst Democrats in the US Senate,” said Tony Massaro, the League’s senior vice president for political affairs. He cited Lincoln’s opposition to climate legislation and her support for efforts to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions as reasons that Lincoln is the first person to be named to their 2010 list (the rest will be released in the coming weeks.) Lincoln has received a lifetime voting score of just 49 percent on environmental issues from the organization—the lowest of all Democratic senators up for reelection this year.

Massaro pointed to a recent poll from Democratic polling firm Benenson Strategy Group that found that 55 percent of Arkansans support passing a bill that includes a cap on carbon dioxide pollution and measures to expand use of renewable energy. “She is out of step with the majority of people in Arkansas,” said Massaro.

Lincoln’s chances of reelection look tenuous at best, as she has come under fire from Arkansas Republicans for her support of health care reform. At least five Republicans are expected to file to run in the primary, and more may jump in before the March 8 deadline. The state Democratic Party has been openly considering whether another Democrat might fare better in the election.

The League of Conservation voters spent $1.5 million during the last election cycle targeing Dirty Dozen members, and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on individual races. Half of the candidates they’ve targeted to date lost their election bids.

The League is also going after Steve Pearce, a GOP candidate for New Mexico’s second congressional district. He represented the district from 2003 to 2009, and made an unsuccessful bid for the Senate in 2008. He has a 3 percent lifetime voting record from the organization.

UPDATE: Lincoln’s office issued a statement defending her environmental record on Thursday afternoon, calling LCV a “liberal” and “extremist” group and vowing that “threats from outside special interest groups will not deter her from remaining a strong and independent voice for Arkansas.”

“I have built a practical, common-sense record on energy and environmental issues while working closely with Arkansas environmental advocates,” said Lincoln. “Threats from extremist groups from outside our state tell me I’m doing something right for Arkansas.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.