Most GOP gubernatorial candidates are climate science deniers, like their House and Senate counterparts

An exclusive Wonk Room analysis by Brad Johnson finds that 22 of the 37 Republican candidates for governor this November deny the scientific consensus on global warming pollution. These science deniers are part of an anti-reality wave of Tea Party candidates, who comprise the Republican slate for the U.S. House and Senate. “The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones,” writes National Journal‘s Ron Brownstein.

Although 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is manmade, only two Republican gubernatorial candidates in Democratic strongholds “” Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R-VT) and Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (R-HI) “” want to address the threat. Two more candidates “” Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) and Meg Whitman (R-CA) “” accept that global warming is a manmade problem, but oppose enacting policy to reduce fossil fuel pollution. The other eleven candidates have “artfully avoided” any discussion of the threat global warming poses to their states, from flood-ravaged Iowa and Tennessee to drought-parched Nevada.

Without further ado, meet the twenty-two climate zombies running for governor:

ALABAMA – Robert Dudley
ALASKA – Sean Parnell
FLORIDA – Rick Scott
GEORGIA – Nathan Deal
ILLINOIS – Bill Brady
KANSAS – Sam Brownback
MAINE – Paul LePage
MARYLAND – Robert Ehrlich
NEW YORK – Carl Paladino
NEW MEXICO – Susana Martinez
OHIO – John Kasich
OKLAHOMA – Mary Fallin
OREGON – Chris Dudley
RHODE ISLAND – Joseph Robitaille
SOUTH DAKOTA – Dennis Daugaard
TEXAS – Rick Perry
UTAH – Gary Herbert
WISCONSIN – Scott Walker
WYOMING – Matt Mead


Dr. Robert Bentley is a cautious global warming denier:

Bentley mentioned a favorite fact of global warming skeptics, that temperatures dipped after a peak in 1998. However, average temperatures over time have risen. According to NASA, January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. After introducing that note of skepticism, Bentley continued. “But I know you look long-term. Now, carbon emissions, I do think, probably play a role in climate changes. I do scientifically agree with that and I do think we have to look for ways to reduce carbon emissions.” [Birmingham News, 10/17/10]

His Democratic opponent, Ron Sparks, also questions climate science. “You still have the debate on whether we have the problem of global warming or you don’t,” Sparks said. “You still have scientists on both sides. Some say we do and some say we don’t.”


Gov. Sean Parnell, who wants to rapidly expand oil drilling in Alaska, denies that global warming is threatening the extinction of polar bears:

This ice by nature shifts and melts . . . Years ago, environmental advocacy groups picked one species “” the polar bear “” to be the poster child for global warming, and these groups have waged a relentless publicity campaign ever since. Alaskans recognize the lock-up effort for what it is: a job-killer and damper on our nation’s energy security. [Washington Post, 8/5/10]


Republican candidate Tom Foley is in denial about the impacts of global warming:

Until you know what the problems are, and you’re in a reasonable time frame of their arrival, then there’s not much you could do. Until we actually experience the impact, then I’m sure there will be plenty of time to respond. [Connecticut Mirror, 10/13/10]


Millionaire health care executive Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for Florida governor, is a global warming denier:

Asked if he believes in climate change, he said “No.” “I have not been convinced,” he said. Asked what he needs to convince him, “Something more convincing than what I’ve read.” [St. Petersburg Times, 7/26/10]


Former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) is a global warming conspiracy theorist, filing a “Climategate” petition against the EPA finding that greenhouse pollution endangers the public health and welfare:

First, Climategate reveals a serious lack of integrity in the underlying data and models, such that it is doubtful that any process can be trusted until the data and models are validated and their integrity assured. Second, Climategate shows that the processes of peer review, consensus building, and scientific evaluation were fundamentally corrupted to the point that EPA should reconsider its reliance on the reports and analyses that led to the Endangerment Finding. Third, Climategate reveals a disturbing, anti-scientific compulsion for mandatory orthodoxy. [Petition for Reconsideration, 12/23/09]

Deal also calls Democrat Roy Barnes’ proposed renewable electricity standard “cap-and-trade for Georgia” and “just another liberal, job-killing mandate.”


Republican state senator Bill Brady is a global warming denier. At a Homer Glen Tea Party rally in 2009, Brady joined other Republicans in denying the science of global warming:

No, I don’t accept that premise, and it is wrong. Illinois needs to foster job creation, not penalize it. [Progress Illinois, 11/5/09]

Watch it:


Although Sen. Sam Brownback said in 2007 that “we need to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere,” he has since embraced radical conspiracy theories about climate science. Last December, he embraced the Climategate smear campaign:

The recent disclosure of the manipulation of scientific evidence by climate researchers is exactly the kind of important information that needs to be brought to light. The emails and documents recently disclosed paint an alarming picture of the state of climate research. In the emails that have been disclosed we’ve seen evidence of manipulation, efforts to avoid freedom of act information requests, abuse of the peer review process and a research process that that is driven more by a political agenda than a quest for truth. [Brownback, DeMint, Ensign, Isakson, Vitter, and Wicker, 12/8/09]


Waterville mayor Paul LePage, the Republican nominee, is a global warming denier:

I just don’t know how severe it is and I’m not sure how much we as human beings contribute to it. Scientists are divided on it. [Waterville Morning Sentinel, 10/5/10]


In an extensive interview on environmental issues facing Maryland with the Baltimore Sun, Ehrlich came out as a newly infected global warming conspiracy theorist:

The skeptical side of me has increased,” Ehrlich says, since news reports last year alleging that scientists manipulated data showing that the climate is changing. [Baltimore Sun, 10/11/10]


Millionaire health insurance executive Charlie Baker, the Republican challenger to incumbent governor Deval Patrick, has staked out skeptical positions both on the science of climate change and on green economic policies. When asked to address the existence of man-made global warming in February, Baker refused to admit its reality:

I’m not saying I believe in it. I’m not saying I don’t. You’re asking me to take a position on something I don’t know enough about. I absolutely am not smart enough to believe that I know the answer to that question. [Boston Globe, 2/7/10]


The Republican hoping to follow Pawlenty, Tom Emmer, seeks to end the regional climate pact, calling it “an artificial tracking system that will be used to raise our energy rates.” Emmer is a radical global warming denier, calling the science “Al Gore’s climate porn” in 2007:

Biodiversity, diversity to me means you’ve got to look at both sides. You know what, the empirical evidence does not support this and the other reps that have talked. There is another side. Just because we make these chambers available to Will Steger and the crowd that wants to rely on Al Gore’s climate porn doesn’t mean that that’s the way it is. There is another side to the story, one that we tried to present a couple of months ago, but apparently it’s frowned upon by the folks that are in control so it doesn’t get the same play in this room. Folks, there is another side. [YouTube, 5/11/07]

Watch it:


Susana Martinez, the Sarah Palin-endorsed nominee for New Mexico governor, questions the overwhelming scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet. “I’m not sure the science completely supports that,” she recently told Politico. Responding to the New Mexico Independent, she revealed that she thinks the science of climate change is an “ideological debate“:

While there is disagreement in the science community concerning the causes of global warming, there is little disagreement concerning our responsibility to take care of the environment while creating jobs in New Mexico. Politicians engaging in an ideological debate over the causes of global warming does nothing to protect the environment, or create jobs. As governor, I will support balanced and evidenced-based environmental protections. [New Mexico Independent, 8/19/10]


Republican candidate Carl Paladino is a raging global warming denier:

Since then, Mr. Paladino, with the help of the Republican consultant Roger J. Stone Jr., has fashioned a campaign around anger (“I’m mad as hell,” his slogan reads), far-right conservatism (he calls global warming a “farce”) and reform in Albany (he frequently talks of “cleaning out the dirty trash”). [New York Times, 8/31/10]


John Kasich, a former Ohio congressman and Fox News personality, has repeatedly challenged the science and policy of global warming on the right-wing television network:

Environmental extremists, they better not make the environment god. They got a hang-up in that way just as well. A little bit of balance here. [O’Reilly Factor, 5/28/04]

As you know, global warming is cyclical, and the focus of a ferocious debate, almost as ferocious as a T. Rex. [O’Reilly Factor, 7/3/08]

Save me from a cap and trade bill that’s going to put a dagger in the Midwest and is basically one politician against slapping another on the back. [Sean Hannity, 7/8/09]


Rep. Mary Fallin has mocked the national security threat of climate change:

Protecting our nation should be a number one priority. Does leadership really think that our surveillance satellites should be aimed at polar ice caps and not terror cells, and that spies should be investigating global warming? Congress must adequately fund our intelligence operations. If we don’t, we may need to be more concerned about global warming in the U.S. caused by a nuclear attack in our own back yard. [Rep. Fallin, 5/9/07]


Republican candidate Chris Dudley just wants to ignore global warming pollution. “Climate change is probably caused by a variety of factors,” Dudley said in a September interview with the Oregonian, “but that debate is beside the point.” In a gubernatorial debate on September 30, Dudley finally came out as a cautious global warming denier:

My thought on global warming is this: that global warming exists, man contributes to it, how much, I don’t know. I don’t know how much is man made and how much is natural. [Oregonian, 9/30/10]

Watch it:


Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard is a global warming denier:

I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts. It’s a complex world we live in. [Yankton Press & Dakotan, 9/7/10]


Gov. Rick Perry is a radical global warming denier and conspiracy theorist:

I’ve heard Al Gore talk about man-made global warming so much that I’m starting to think that his mouth is the leading source of all that supposedly deadly carbon dioxide. Virtually every day another scientist leaves the global warming bandwagon. But you won’t read about that in the press because they have already invested in one side of the story. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be good stewards of our environment. We should. I am just saying when politics hijack science, it quells true scientific debate and can have dire consequences for our future. [Rick Perry, 9/7/07]


Republican Gary Herbert is a global warming denier:

I’ve heard people argue on both sides of the issue, people I have a high regard for. People say man’s impact is minimal, if at all, so it appears to me the science is not necessarily conclusive. [Deseret News, 6/16/09]


Milwaukee county executive Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for governor, is a global warming conspiracy theorist:

Governor Doyle has put his trust in international politicians, bureaucrats, celebrities and discredited scientists to replace the real manufacturing jobs Wisconsin is losing every day. [Scott Walker, 12/10/09]


Republican millionaire Matt Mead is a proud global warming denier:

I am unconvinced that climate change is man-made, but I do recognize we may face challenges presented by those who propose and believe they can change our climate by law with ill-thought-out policy like cap and trade (the latest version of which is the Senate Climate Bill, S. 1733, unveiled May 12th). [Mead for Governor]

— Brad Johnson, in a ThinkProgress cross-post.

12 Responses to Most GOP gubernatorial candidates are climate science deniers, like their House and Senate counterparts

  1. History will not be kind to these people.
    They are thinking with their wallets.

  2. Peter M says:

    Here in Connecticut

    Tom Foley says we will be able to respond to climate change ‘when it arrives’ -well Tom- even the outgoing republican Governor says we are now facing climate change- are you disagreeing with her?

    Mr. Foley again shows where is allegiance is- not to the people of Connecticut- but to the energy companies and their special interests.

    As far as responding to the crises when it comes- the costs will be exceedingly high- so much for economic priorities with the republican party of no things.

  3. Fred Lua says:

    The Republican party is the political party that has been sold out to corporate interests.

    The republicans place last the needs of the people, and they are not to be trusted.

  4. Mike Roddy says:

    I don’t think the Kochs and Tillermans are oblivious to what’s going on with the climate. They are money crazed sociopaths. And they can’t believe their luck that they have not only persuaded vast portions of the public, but idiot politicians have tagged along, too.

  5. George Ennis says:

    As a Canadian looking on the political news coming out of the US is nothing short of depressing. The GOP which looks set to gain control of one or both houses of Congress is likely to create gridlock in any number of areas including climate change. The prospect that the US is likely to undertake no substantive effort at a reduction in GHG emissions is appalling given the trajectory we are on towards disrupting the planet’s climate.

    I had hoped that a strong legislation in the US would put pressure on Alberta and the tar sands. However in the absence of any such pressure the “rational” approach from Alberta’s approach is to exapnd tar sands operations as rapidly as possible.

  6. BobbyBob says:

    Here’s my theory on this: The reason the “Right” spews this stuff is because everyone that would vote for them believes that global warming is a sham, so they have to appeal to them. Anyone that is smart enough to understand global warming, is also smart enough to see that every one of the “Right’s” other ideas (tax cuts for the rich, killing health care reform, cutting social programs or privatizing them, etc, etc) are equally stupid, and would vote “Left”. They are appealing to the half of the country that is ignorant, and they have to be consistent in that, or they will loose many of their votes. In other words, if anyone that is planning on voting Republican smells even a hint of “lefty-ness” in a candidate, then they won’t vote for them.

    So I blame the media, and the hold that corporations (sometimes foreign oil ones) have on them, for not educating the ignorant (teachers to a lesser extent too, but they are also influenced by media). If the people weren’t so dumb, then the politicians wouldn’t have to pander to idiots, and the Koch brothers wouldn’t have such an easy time brainwashing them even further.

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    The Russian Grain harvest –

    They lost 39 % of their grain crop vs last years harvest.

    Russia extends grain export ban for six months,export-ban-six-months.html

    As the numbers dribble out on how much the Asian Rice crop has been lost due to flooding , I have a feeling we’ll see a similar number there as well.

  8. Ken Johnson says:

    Why have the other eleven candidates “artfully avoided” discussion of global warming?

    It seems that there is a kind of political dynamic going on here, where the “progressives” (aka. “liberals”) continually reinforce the nexus between “climate science” and “liberalism” by keeping media attention focused on the GOP’s anti-science faction. It’s not clear to me what these kinds of articles accomplish other than reinforcing political polarization by continually amplifying the voices of the extreme right.

    I would like to see more of a focus on “conservative voices of reason” in the GOP — if any can be found. (Has anyone looked?)

  9. Chris Winter says:

    “History will not be kind to these people.
    They are thinking with their wallets.”

    Or… with their dipsticks — like Castrol, a product of BP?

  10. Wow. This never happens. We’re reversing the Lede. If ONLY 22 out of their 37 candidates are deniers, that brings an astounding improvement to the Senate where currently about 37 of the 41 are deniers (approx 90%).

    I am not as familiar with the House, but I seriously doubt there’s more than a handful of clean energy climatehawks among the House GOP either.

    If it is only 22 out of 37 it’s down to just around half! Half the GOP candidates are NOT deniers!!!!

  11. Deborah Stark says:

    Re: Mike Roddy | Post #4

    …..I don’t think the Kochs and Tillermans are oblivious to what’s going on with the climate. They are money crazed sociopaths. And they can’t believe their luck that they have not only persuaded vast portions of the public, but idiot politicians have tagged along, too.”…..

    I agree completely. I think it has been apparent for some time now that the Kochs, Tillermans, Inhofes, Toomeys, Bucks, Cheneys, Lindzens, Singers, Moncktons, Balls, Christys, etc. among us know quite well what we are up against. THEY DON’T CARE.

    We will need to go around them and their ilk. Personally I don’t know where it is written that we cannot do that. The directly-observable evidence of this matter is increasingly on our side.

  12. Donald says:

    For every US citizen who is entitled to vote in the upcoming mid-terms there are 20-25 of us in the rest of the world who can’t. As the US can do more than any other single country in the world to lead the fight against man-made climate change, your political choices affect the whole world not just yourselves. I wish you the very best for all of our sakes

    PS I know I am preaching the choir on this site