Clean Water Action Helps Electoral Green Wave Wash over Pennsylvania

As part of a $2.5 million national election effort, Clean Water Action helped create a green wave in Pennsylvania that elected a slate of candidates who’ll chart new paths for the environment in Washington D.C. and Harrisburg.

“If you were talking to residents like we were this result shouldn’t come as big surprise,” said Steve Hvozdovich, Pennsylvania Campaigns Director. “As we engaged our 80,000 members across the Commonwealth, we heard them talk about being fed up with President Trump’s actions on climate change, like pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord while being encouraged by the competing direction offered by Governor Wolf and other state leaders, like taking the first state action to stop methane emissions from new oil and gas operations.”

Since mid August, Clean Water Action conducted phonebanking and door to door canvassing efforts that reached over 50,000 voters regarding their slate of endorsed candidates. Much of the focus was on voters in Allegheny County and Chester County, both areas of the state impacted by the oil and gas industry.

“For the past decade the oil and gas industry has dominated Harrisburg with millions in campaign donations. But this election we are seeing new successful candidates come forward who are rejecting oil and gas money, and who are clearly putting the interests of their constituents first. Whether its gas wells being fracking near schools outside Pittsburgh, or pipelines being built through neighborhood backyards in Chester County, voters are clearly responding to candidates who are demanding public protection,” stated Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania Director for Clean Water Action.

The majority of the effort in southwestern Pennsylvania was focused on competitive down ballot races occurring in the Allegheny County’s North Hills, especially  Lindsey Williams’ race for State Senate, District 38 where Clean Water Action knocked on 4,800 doors and talked with 2,700 voters.

In Chester County, Clean Water Action knocked on the doors of over 30,000 voters, focused on three State House races, supporting pipeline activist Danielle Otten (District 155), first term incumbent Carolyn Comitta (District 156), and challenger Melissa Shusterman (District 157). Overall, there were direct conversations with over 9,000 voters in these districts.

Clean Water Actions’ broader effort contributed to victories for:

  • Bob Casey- United States Senate
  • Brendan Boyle- United States House of Representatives, District 2
  • Dwight Evans- United States House of Representatives, District 3
  • Madeline Dean United States House of Representatives, District 4
  • Mary Gay Scanlon United States House of Representatives, District 5
  • Matt Cartwright United States House of Representatives, District 8
  • Tom Wolf- Governor
  • Art Haywood-Pennsylvania Senate, District 4
  • Steve Santarsiero- Pennsylvania Senate, District 10
  • Lindsey Williams- Pennsylvania Senate, District 38
  • Gene DiGirolamo- Pennsylvania House, District 18
  • Perry Warren- Pennsylvania House, District 31
  • Stephen McCarter- Pennsylvania House, District 154
  • Danielle Otten- Pennsylvania House, District 155
  • Carolyn Comitta- Pennsylvania House, District 156
  • Melissa Shusterman- Pennsylvania House, District 157
  • Leanne Krueger Braneky- Pennsylvania House, District 161
  • Greg Vitali- Pennsylvania House, District 166
  • Joseph Hohenstein- Pennsylvania House, District 177
  • Malcolm Kenyatta- Pennsylvania House, District 181

Clean Water Action pointed out that a common denominator among all these winners was that they embraced strong messages about being champions for our environment and acting as a check to stop President Trump’s dangerous environmental agenda from impacting the health of Pennsylvanians.

The improved positions of Congress and the Pennsylvania General Assembly gained through tonight’s election results will allow Clean Water Action to better mount efforts to halt federal assaults, like President Trump’s efforts to repeal Clean Water Rule protections for thousands of Pennsylvania streams while also being proactive at the state level to ensure protections from the oil and gas industry and cleaning up contaminated water supplies.


Clean Water Action has more than 80,000 members statewide in Pennsylvania and is the nation's largest grassroots group focused on water, energy and environmental health.  Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress.

Myron Arnowitt
Steve Hvozdovich