Biden Debuts First Climate-Only TV Spot in Presidential Campaign Cycle, as Climate is on the Air Across Senate and House Battlegrounds
Washington, D.C. — The climate crisis is real and it’s happening right now. A summer of deadly climate fires, supercharged hurricanes, derechos, and other climate-fueled extreme weather events has put climate change at the center of the debate heading into the home stretch of the election. As daily life for people across the country has been upended and the cost of science denial has become all too apparent, voters are citing growing concerns about climate change and are demanding bold action.
Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris call climate change one of the four major crises that the country is facing. Proving once again 2020 will be a climate change election, TV ads on climate, the environment, and conservation are playing a significant role in key races.
It’s not surprising candidates and third-party groups in key races are running ads focused on climate and environment. An April Yale Program on Climate Change Communication survey found voters are 55 percent less likely to vote for a candidate at the top of the ticket who opposes taking action on climate and moderate Republicans are 35 percentage points less likely to vote for a presidential candidate opposing action. In addition, climate is an issue that is key to winning over and motivating younger voters, Latinos, and suburban women (including Republican-leaning independents). Climate, clean energy, and conservation are all issues that will help candidates assemble the coalitions they need to win.
Here’s a look at some of the ads that were on the air from September 23-30 (with a couple of notable exceptions).
This week, Biden ran an ad focused solely on climate change. The ad, “Cherries,” focuses on the impact of climate change on farmers and agriculture. The ad is running in the Traverse City-Cadillac media market, an area Donald Trump swept in 2016.
The Biden campaign is running “Our Chance,” which includes climate change as a top priority under a Biden administration. Biden is also airing “Made in America,” which mentions clean energy and combating climate change. Earlier in the cycle and during the primary, Biden ran three additional ads that mentioned climate: “Bones,” “Stakes,” and “Imagine.”
While the Trump campaign is running ads in English attacking Joe Biden on climate and clean energy issues, surprisingly, it is currently running an ad in Spanish in Florida claiming credit for creating good-paying green jobs in Puerto Rico.
Four weeks out from Election Day, Senate candidates across the battleground are running a number of ads on clean energy, climate, and environmental/conservation issues:
- ALASKA: Al Gross (I) is running “Undercover Video,” which attacks Dan Sullivan for his support of Pebble Mine.
- COLORADO: John Hickenlooper is running “Which Cory,” which attacks Cory Gardner for rolling back environmental protections and “The CORE Act” on protecting public lands from drilling.
- MINNESOTA: Tina Smith is running “Opportunities,” which talks about her bipartisan work creating internships in the clean energy sector.
- NEW MEXICO: Ben Ray Luján is up with “Working the Land”, which talks about protecting clean water.
Earlier this month, Steve Bullock ran three ads on the environment in his race to pick-up the Montana Senate seat, including, “Better Than You Found It” and his children, “Caroline/Alex“, talking about hiking, public lands, hunting, and fishing. Despite a lifetime score of 6% from LCV, Steve Daines has run multiple ads touting his alleged support for public lands.
Additionally, in Michigan, Gary Peters (D-MI) ran an ad about PFAS Contamination featuring a woman praising his work on PFAS and “Resources” on the Great Lakes.
Third-party groups are also running a number of spots in key Senate races, including:
- ALASKA: Independent Alaska is up with “Independent Fishermen” and “Send a Doctor” attacking Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan for his support of Pebble Mine and praising Independent Al Gross as a “fisherman, doctor, advocate.”
- ARIZONA: Environmental Defense Action Fund (EDAF) is running “Choke” against Martha McSally for taking donations from “corporate polluters” and her vote to “gut clean air protections.”
- IOWA: LCV Victory Fund is up with “IA Map,” which notes Joni Ernst’s support for tax breaks for fossil fuels and the donations she received from oil and gas companies.
- MICHIGAN: “Paying Off,” from Senate Majority PAC, attacks John James for corporate donations from fossil fuel companies.
- MONTANA: EDAF is running “Wilks Brothers,” a negative ad that attacks Steve Daines for his connections to the “Texas billionaire” brothers, the largest private landowners in Montana.
- SOUTH CAROLINA: NRDC Action Votes and Lindsey Must GO PAC are up with “Offshore Drilling,” which hits Lindsey Graham for changing his position on offshore drilling and taking donations from fossil fuel companies.
In the fight to preserve the pro-climate majority in the House, climate and conservation also feature prominently in a number of key races:
- CALIFORNIA-24: Salud Carbajal is running “Strawberry Fields to Congress,” which is a biographical ad that mentions his support for public lands protections.
- COLORADO-06: Jason Crow is running “Former Army Ranger Climate Change,” touts his environmental record, including combating climate change.
- ILLINOIS-06: Sean Casten is running “Grade” and “Scientist;” the first ad attacks Ives for opposing efforts to combat climate change, and the second touts his private-sector record on the environment and climate change.
- MICHIGAN-08: LCV Victory Fund and House Majority PAC are up with “Warning Signs,” which attacks Paul Junge for his connections to PFAS companies.
- MONTANA-AL: Kathleen Williams is running “Get Out of Our Way,” featuring her gutting a fish and touting her support for the environment. Williams and the DCCC are also running “Just Don’t Fit,” which attacks her opponent for failing to protect public lands.
- NEW HAMPSHIRE-01: Chris Pappas is running “Everyday,” which notes his support for clean water.
- NEW MEXICO-02: Xochitl Torres-Small is running “Public Lands (English)/(Spanish),” a positive ad that notes her support for the Great American Outdoors Act. She is also running “Out Here,” which touts her support for public lands and features her hunting. LCV Victory Fund is running “Land of Enchantment,” which attacks Yvette Herrell for failing to protect public lands.
- SOUTH CAROLINA-01: House Majority PAC is up with “Just Don’t Belong,” which attacks Nancy Mace for supporting offshore drilling. LCV Victory Fund and House Majority PAC are up with “Priceless,” which also attacks Mace for supporting offshore drilling. Also on the topic of offshore drilling, LCV Victory Fund is up with “Way of Life.”
- VIRGINIA-07: LCV Victory Fund is up with “We Know” in Richmond, which attacks Nick Freitas for his donations from corporate polluters and failing to protect drinking water.
This release was updated to reflect the fact that Biden was not the first presidential candidate to run a climate ad in a general election race.