Washington, D.C. -- Last night dozens of Clean Water Action endorsed candidates from Massachusetts to New Jersey to Michigan to California won election. The U.S. House of Representatives will now be controlled by a pro-environment majority; and states like Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island elected gubernatorial candidates endorsed by Clean Water Action; In addition, across the nation, state legislative candidates supported by the organization won their races, ensuring that these states can fill the vacuum created by federal inaction on everything from toxic chemicals to drinking water policy to action to address the climate crisis.
Clean Water Action put a special focus on U.S. House races in 15 districts in New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota, spending $2.5 million on federal and state races. The organization deployed hundreds of full-time, trained canvassers and knocked on more than half a million doors.
"Person to person conversations are the best way to move the needle and motivate people to be clean water voters -- canvassing wins elections," said Bob Wendelgass, President and CEO of Clean Water Action. "We have relied on door to door canvassing to elect clean water leaders and win important policies for more than 30 years. We knew the only way to respond to the 2016 elections was to redouble our efforts, identify districts we could flip and candidates we could support, and build the people power to win elections through our field teams."
In the four competitive races that Clean Water Action focused on in New Jersey, the organization's canvassers knocked on more than 218,000 doors, holding personal, engaging conversations to maximize votes for endorsed candidates Mikie Sherrill, Andy Kim, Tom Malinowski, and Josh Gottheimer. Sherrill, Malinowski, and Gottheimer all won their races. As of this release, Andy Kim's races was too close to call.
In Michigan Clean Water Action organizers visited more than 142,000 voters, supporting Gretchen Whitmer for Governor, Dana Nessel for Attorney General, and candidates for US House and state House in targeted swing districts.
In Pennsylvania field teams focused on swing suburban Philadelphia districts, knocking on more than 57,000 doors and speaking with voters person to person to urge support of Governor Tom Wolf and key state candidates. Minnesota teams knocked on more than 16,000 doors in swing districts to help elect Angie Craig and Dean Phillips, pro-environment state legislators, and Gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz.
"We knew that clean water voters would come out for our endorsed candidates and we're thrilled to have played a vital role in so many important elections," Wendelgass continued. "But the job isn't done. The fossil fuel industry's stranglehold on our democracy might have been loosened, but polluter allies still control the Senate and agencies like EPA have been captured by industry. We're shifting our focus to working with the newly empowered majority in the House of Representatives and leaning on Governors and state legislatures to lead in the absence of Federal action on our water, health, and climate. We're also building our campaign plans for 2020 when we'll use our expertise in field canvassing to defeat President Trump and elect new leaders in the U.S. Senate."
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.