MEMO: Our historic $2.1 million investment in 2020 election

TO: Interested parties
FROM: Dan Crawford, Conservation Votes PAC
(919) 839-0020 | dan@nclcv.org
DATE: Tuesday, November 3, 2020

RE: NCLCV PRE-ELECTION MEMO: Our historic $2.1 million investment in electing environmental champions in North Carolina

In 2020, Conservation Votes PAC (CVP), the independent expenditure arm of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters (NCLCV), spent over $2.1 million on state races to re-elect Gov. Roy Cooper and elect environmental champions to back him up on the Council of State and in the General Assembly. This year is CVP’s largest electoral investment ever, smashing our then-previous record of $1.3 million two years ago.

2020 is the culmination of CVP’s eight-year strategy to build pro-environment leadership in our state. This started with electing leaders to the state House in 2014, continued with Gov. Cooper’s election in 2016, and then ramped up with 2018’s effort to break the anti-environment legislative supermajority in 2018. That successful campaign grew our Green Caucus, which we hope will now be in the majority in at least one chamber after November 3.

In addition to our $2.1 million investment in state races this year, our national partner LCV Victory Fund (LCVVF) separately made both early and late investments in federal races in North Carolina, including on behalf of Joe Biden for President, Pat Timmons-Goodson in the 8th Congressional District, and $3.1 million to elect Cal Cunningham to the U.S. Senate.

On top of this independent expenditure work from CVP and LCVVF, environmental advocates across the country donated over $1,146,000 directly to North Carolina state candidates through the GiveGreen platform.

Re-electing Gov. Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein, electing Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley as Lt. Governor and Jenna Wadsworth as Commissioner of Agriculture, and building a Green Caucus majority in at least one legislative chamber will demonstrate that North Carolinians truly believe clean air, clean water, and clean energy are priorities, and that we want a government that protects their health and quality of life.

We still have a final sprint before polls close on Tuesday night, but one thing is clear: North Carolina’s environmental community has stepped up in a huge way to ensure our elected leaders prioritize people over polluters.

See below for an overview of CVP’s political work.

$2.1 Million Invested in Elections

CVP’s $2.1 million investment in 2020 independent electoral spending went toward television, mail, and digital advertising both statewide and in targeted legislative districts.

RaceOpponentOpponent Score*CVP Supported
GovernorLt. Gov. Dan Forestn/aGov. Roy Cooper
Lt. GovernorMark Robinsonn/aRep. Yvonne Lewis Holley
Attorney GeneralJim O’Neilln/aA.G. Josh Stein
AgricultureCommissioner Steve Troxlern/aJenna Wadsworth
Senate 1Sen. Bob Steinburg12%Tess Judge
Senate 7Sen. Jim Perry10%Donna Lake
Senate 11Rep. Lisa Stone Barnes33%Allen Wellons
Senate 24Amy Galeyn/aJD Wooten
Senate 31Sen. Joyce Krawiec2%Terri LeGrand
House 9Rep. Perrin Jonesn/aBrian Farkas
House 12Rep. Chris Humphrey50%Virginia Cox-Daugherty
House 20Rep. Ted Davis18%Adam Ericson
House 43Diane Wheatleyn/aKimberly Hardy
House 45Frances Jacksonn/aRep. John Szoka
House 59Rep. Jon Hardister6%Nicole Ward Quick
House 63Rep. Steve Ross9%Ricky Hurtado
House 74Jeff Zengern/aDan Besse
House 82Rep. Kristin Bakern/aAimy Steele
House 83Rep. Larry Pittman10%Gail Young

* Lifetime environmental score from NCLCV’s legislative scorecard

  • Television: Almost $86,000 on ads to support Ericson over Davis in House District 20
  • Digital: Over $849,000 in digital program focused on persuading and turning out voters across these races 
  • Mail: Over $1,000,000 in mail program focused on persuading and turning out voters across these races
  • Phones: $149,000 on texting and calling youth voters across these races

Examples of CVP’s TV, digital, and mail program can be found here.

Duo on the Dirty Dozen

Two of the candidates CVP worked to oppose comprised one-sixth of LCVVF’s national Dirty Dozen in the States list: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and Rep. Steve Ross. In the 2017-18 election cycle, LCV state affiliates like NCLCV defeated ten of the twelve Dirty Dozen in the States candidates, including now former Rep. Chris Malone of Wake County’s House District 35.

Representation Matters

NCLCV’s family of organizations has been working to boost its support for historically underrepresented communities, and that shows in this year’s political work. 50% of the candidates NCLCV’s Conservation PAC endorsed in 2020 identify as women, and 30% identify as people of color. Similarly, 52% of the candidates CVP supported with independent expenditures identify as women, and 26% identify as people of color.

Environmental Messaging Breaks Through

With our public health crisis laying bare the importance of listening to science and prioritizing clean air and clean water, voters are paying attention to climate, environmental, and energy issues more than ever this cycle. Internal polling showed 47% to 54% of voters in these legislative districts think the environment is a very important issue when deciding who to vote for. Between 56% and 66% of them support stronger emissions rules that would establish net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, like Gov. Cooper’s Clean Energy Plan would.

“Voters are with us on the issues, and we’re doing everything we can to let them know what’s at stake in this election,” said Dan Crawford, director of Conservation Votes PAC. “And that is a government that puts people first. North Carolinians have had enough of being put on the backburner in favor of corporate polluters. In his second term, Gov. Cooper needs legislative and executive partners who work with him to advance climate action, clean energy solutions, and public health protections.”

Moving Forward

If North Carolinians are able to overcome gerrymandering and voter suppression and follow their values with their votes, they will be one step closer to cleaner water, cleaner air, and cleaner energy for this and future generations. This only happens with leaders in power who advocate for these popular priorities. That is why CVP made its largest-ever investment in electing people who are committed to advancing democracy and protecting every North Carolinian’s health and quality of life. No matter the result tonight, our work will continue.

This information is paid for by the Conservation Votes Political Action Committee.
This message was made independent of any candidate or political party.

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