This is Part Two of a four-part Wonk Room series examining the implications for climate and clean energy policy of the 2010 gubernatorial races. Read Part One, on heartland states, or view the governor-race compilation.
Yesterday, the Wonk Room reviewed four gubernatorial races featuring anti-climate Republicans in the Midwest. Today, we look at five competitive state contests that pitch climate champions against global warming deniers with Tea Party backing, in Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio. The future of renewable electricity standards, efficiency and clean technology support, and climate policy rest on these election results.
FLORIDA: Alex Sink (D) v. Rick Scott (R)
ILLINOIS: Pat Quinn (D) v. Bill Brady (R)
MINNESOTA: Mark Dayton (D), Tom Emmer (R), Tom Horner (I)
WISCONSIN: Tom Barrett (D) v. Scott Walker (R)
OHIO: Ted Strickland (D) v. John Kasich (R)
538 estimate: 43 percent chance of Democratic pickup
Florida is under imminent threat from the rising sea levels, fiercer heat waves, and stronger storms of global warming. Clean energy investment and energy-efficiency retrofits could restore hundreds of thousands of jobs to the economically battered state. However, 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]
Despite the lingering BP disaster, Scott is open to oil drilling off the coast of Florida. Scott’s campaign attacked his Democratic opponent Alex Sink’s advocacy of renewable energy standards as “leftist energy proposals,” promoting nuclear power instead. Florida’s renewable-industry advocates responded: “Rick Scott needs to say something of substance or stop attacking small business people.”