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League of Conservation Voters’ Political Arm Shows Some Midterm Muscle

Super PAC expands into 14 more House races, will spend record $80 million this cycle

Environmental activists protest in front of the White House after President Donald Trump announced he is withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accord in June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Environmental activists protest in front of the White House after President Donald Trump announced he is withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accord in June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The campaign arm of the League of Conservation Voters says it will spend $80 million before Election Day — a record for the super PAC.

Rollbacks to environmental protections by President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress have created a sense of urgency heading into Election Day, LCV Victory Fund said in a news release.

“After a year that saw historic hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, across the country candidates know that voters are feeling the effects of climate change now and want leaders who are putting public health and safety ahead of the interests of corporate polluters,” the PAC said in a news release.

In 2016 the PAC invested a fraction of that, just $45 million. And the new total represents $20 million more than the PAC projected in September that it would spend during the cycle. 

The PAC will spend $17.5 million in House races before Election Day. In the final weeks it has expanded into 14 additional races, with an eye towards flipping the lower chamber to Democratic control, including North Carolina’s 13th District, Kansas’ 3rd District and Michigan’s 8th District

By next week, LCV Victory Fund will have also dropped $30 million into 16 state legislative races and four local public utility commission races, “where smaller elections can have big impacts on climate and other environmental issues,” the PAC said. That’s its largest investment at the state level in the group’s 50-year history. 

Additionally, the group’s $1 million get-out-the-vote effort spans 40 organizers in 14 states. 

The $80 million figure does not include $8 million spent to sway ballot initiatives, including $2.65 million to defeat Colorado’s Amendment 74, which would amend the state’s constitution to allow property owners to seek compensation for any government action that devalues their land, and $800,000 supporting Florida’s Question 4, which would restore voting rights to 1.5 million formerly incarcerated residents.

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