Energy Smart Candidates: A 2008 recap and 2009 look-ahead

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Eight months ago, the Vote Energy Smart, not Energy Dumb! effort began.  

The opportunity is before us to bring focus to [energy and global warming] across campaigns, across the United States, and make Energy/Global Warming a winning issue come November and a higher priority for serious Congressional and Administration action come January 2009.

The Energy Smart Act Blue page worked on the philosophy of supporting underdog challengers, who were not “expected” to win when added to the page.  And, most importantly:

The challenger understands energy / environmental issues and will bring a radically different perspective to the Hill compared to the incumbent.

Join below the fold for a recap of the 2008 candidates and the Energy Smart list and a look forward to 2009.

At the end of the day, considering that these were all ‘underdogs’ and, in some cases, sentimental extreme long-shot picks, the “list” didn’t do poorly with two (of four (with footnote)) elected Senators  and five (of ten) elected Congressmen. Aiming for ‘underdog’ candidates, a 50% win rate isn’t so bad.  Writ large, some of these were among the closest elections in the nation, with four of them not called definitively election eve.

This is electoral politics, thus:  The 2008 election season is over, long live 2009 and 2010.  Thus, the first two Energy Smart candidates of the 2009 election cycle are from the Commonwealth of Virginia: Brian Moran for Governor and Miles Grant for the House of Delegates in the 47th District.  See a few words on them after the fold as well.

Changing the world?

The Energy Smart list began with great aspirations, to bring attention to global warming and energy issues.  With some $5,000 raised across 50 contributors amid a multi-billion dollar election season, it is hard to say that it had much of an impact.  And, to be clear, while there were close elections involved, it is impossible to claim with a straight face that the list had a real impact on helping any of those close campaigns win. On the other hand … for more than one candidate, outside organizations that l;ater endorsed the candidate contacted this author to query about whether the candidate merited support and endorsement, other authors (traditional media and new media) made contacts prior to writing on Energy Smart candidates, and this list help spark three candidates (two incoming Senators) to join Netroots Nation in Austin, Texas, on the Energize America panel.  

A lesson for the future, on seeking to spark attention, would be to seek to have an ‘umbrella’ re energy and global warming in the Act Blue arena, which multiple fundraisers could link into, to highlight that these are top-of-the-tier issues with those fundraisers and their contributors.

And, the importants of EMILY: early money!  Thus, candidate endorsements for 2009.

Recapping the candidates:

Senate: There were four “core” Energy Smart Senate candidates:  Energy Smart Senators-elect Mark Begich (D-AK) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Scott Kleeb, running for Senate in Nebraska, and Andrew Rice, running against James Inhofe in Oklahoma.  Both Jeff’s and Mark’s elections were close, neither “decided” election eve. But both Oregon and Alaska are now represented by Senators who will bring real value to Senate deliberations when it comes to the necessity to act seriously on energy and global warming issues.  Both Jeff and Mark joined the Energize America panel at Netroots Nation, providing quite thoughtful, passionate, and valuable voices to the discussion there.  

To Scott and Andrew: Thank you for running. Your states, the nation, and our collective futures would have been well serve having you serve in the US Senate. You performed a real public service, traveling throughout your states and speaking truth about the challenges we face and the opportunities before us.  We are proud to have supported you and hope that this is not the last that we will hear of you into the future.

Late ‘additions’:  The Energy Smart list added, after the general election, Jim Martin, who lost to Energy Dumb Saxby in the runoff election.   In addition, with the one major election not yet decided, Al Franken joined the list for the recount and into the future.

House of Representatives

From early on, there were six core candidates that include three new Congressmen (Tom Perriello (VA-05), Gary Peters (MI-09), Glenn Nye (VA-02)).  Both Tom’s and Glenn’s election turned out be quite close and not decided election eve, with Tom’s extending well past election day before the recount showed him as the definitive winner.  In addion to the new Congressmen, the list included two candidates for whom we owe real appreciation for their taking on the serious task of taking on well-entrenched incumbents in R-leaning (heavy) districts:  Debbie Cook (CA-46), Michael Skelly (TX-07), and Kay Barnes (MO-06).   Debbie, Michael, and Kay would have made wonderful representatives and we can hope that they will build on their 2008 efforts for a win come 2010.  Personally, Debbie’s loss to global warming denier Energy Dumb Dana Rorhabacher 53-47 was perhaps the most disappointing defeat election eve.  With a little more, a little earlier outside attention perhaps Debbie would have won.  This was the House election that might have represented the starkest contrast between the energy smart challenger and energy dumb incumbent.  Sigh … Debbie, you are still on the page with, hopefully, fundraising to support your 2010 victory.

In addition, through the election season, two excellent new (extremely) Energy Smart new Congressmen from New Mexico (Martin Heinrich (NM-01) and Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03)) were added to the list.  

Several others on the list did not get elected. Tony Barr (PA-09) made it to the list both due to ‘energy smarts’ (a biking enthusiast, who recognizes that there is no Silver Bullet solution, but a need for a “smorgabord of solutions”), but also as a favored blogger. Daniel Johnson (NC-10) was a shoe-in to the list due to the incumbent’s ideological devotion to energy dumb concepts and demogoguery.  

Sigh …

There were many other worthy candidates. And, each one merited more attention and more support …

But …

Energy Smart Act Blue didn’t change the world but some of the Energy Smart Candidates will be roaming the Halls of Congress a month from now, helping turn the nation toward a prosperous and climate-friendly future.

2009 and beyond …

The election is over!  Long live the next Election!

In 2009, the Commonwealth of Virginia will be holding elections. Two candidates, well prior to the primaries, stand out for their Energy Smarts.

Brian Moran is running for Governor and has shown a history of understanding that we need to change course on energy issues. He has a clear understanding that there is not a single point solution, but that we must address issues in a systematic fashion.  In addition, he recognizes that it is not the economy versus the environment, but economy and environment.  From a speech earlier this year

That’s why we must reject the false choice between growing our economy and protecting our environment. We can create jobs by investing in a 21st century energy economy. That means putting Virginians to work in good, high-paying jobs in green construction, bringing manufacturing jobs back by investing in wind turbines, and creating new industries by investing in alternative energy research.

Time to get moving to help Energy Smart Brian become the next Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This evening, energy and environmental blogger Miles Grant (The Green Miles) will be holding a fundraiser in Rosslyn, Virginia, from 6-8 pm (Piola Restaurant, 1550 Wilson Blvd).  If you can’t make it there, you can still support Miles’ efforts to join the Virginia House of Delegates from the 47th District by Acting Blue in an Energy Smart way.  Let’s be honest, anyone who tracks our interactions in the blogosphere will know that we don’t always agree and actually had some pretty strong confrontations in regards to the Lieberman-Warner Coal Subsidy Act.  But, this is disagreement between the passionate and knowledgeable, arguing over approaches to solving our problems — not over whether there is a problem to be solved and not over desired end states.  Miles would be a knowledgeable and passionable Energy Smart delegate … in a state that needs a lot more Energy Smarts in its political leadership.


Congratulations and welcome to Washington Energy Smart Jeff, Mark, Martin, Ben, Tom, Glenn, and Gary.    Your Energy Smarts are needed in the halls of power.

Thank you for willingness to take on the often task of running for public office Energy Smart Debbie, Michael, Andrew, Scott, Kay, Tony, Daniel, Gilda, Ashwin, and Possum.

And, looking to the future, lets work to make Energy Smart Brian the next Governor of Virginia and Energy Smart Miles (that is, The Green Miles) Grant the next delegate from Virginia’s 47th District.

And, thinking to the future, how can we work together to foster energy smart concepts and global warming as key issues for candidates to focus on to win future elections.


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    • pfiore8 on December 16, 2008 at 7:44 pm


    and always nice to see YOU here as well as your essays!!!

  1. Energy Smartness — one way to separate those who would help and those who would not.  It’s interesting to see how this all came about and where it went — definitely a start in the RIGHT direction.  Good barometer to guage future candidates in our considerations.

    BTW, I think Obama is doing pretty well with his choice of environmental representatives thus far!

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