The Mid-term Election – An Angeles Chapter Win for the Environment
The Mid Term Elections are now behind us. Voter participation was at an extraordinarily high level for a mid-term election. In Orange County alone, 68% of those registered to vote cast their ballots. It appears likely that the percentage of voters will rise since there are still votes to be counted.
The results for the environment in the Angeles Chapter are encouraging. The Angeles Chapter recommended the endorsement of candidates in 72 local races ranging from seats in the House of Representatives to State Legislative seats to local City Councils and Water Districts. Our candidates were successful in 62 of those races or in 86% of the contests where we endorsed. Sierra Club California recommended the endorsement of candidates for 6 statewide offices and took positions on 5 ballot measures. Here’s how our endorsed candidates fared.
U.S. House of Representatives: The 19 Congressional candidates recommended by the Angeles Chapter all won. 5 of these seats were in districts identified as possibilities to flip in 2018. Sierra Club staffers from throughout the country were dispatched to work in 45 House and Senate campaigns in 23 states. The Angeles Chapter was the beneficiary of the efforts of 5 of these dedicated individuals working on campaigns in the targeted districts. These districts were located in all or portions of the Angeles Chapter. The victories of these five first-time candidates are significant because climate deniers are being replaced by representatives who believe climate change is real and are willing to address it. The five flipped districts:
CD25 in northern L.A. County and portions of Ventura County – Katie Hill, our endorsed candidate, defeated incumbent Steve Knight
CD39 in northern Orange County, portions of southern L.A. County, and a little bit of San Bernardino County – Gil Cisneros, our endorsed candidate, defeated Young Kim for the seat formerly held by Ed Royce
CD45 in central Orange County – Katie Porter, our endorsed candidate, defeated incumbent Mimi Walters
CD48 in northern coastal Orange County – Harley Rouda, our endorsed candidate, defeated incumbent Dana Rohrabacher
CD49 in a portion of southern coastal Orange County and northern San Diego County – Mike Levin, Sierra Club endorsed candidate, defeated Diane Harkey for the seat formerly held by Darryl Issa.
California State Senate: Although one race is still a very close contest, it appears that 5 of our 7 recommended candidates were elected. If the present trend continues, our endorsed candidate Tom Umberg will beat incumbent Janice Nguyen for the seat in State Senate District 34 which covers northern coastal Orange County and a portion of Los Angeles County.
California State Assembly: The Angeles Chapter supported the endorsement of candidates in 20 Assembly Districts. Our endorsed candidates were victorious in 19 of the 20 races. Two of the Assembly victories resulted in climate action supporters defeating climate change deniers: In Assembly District 38 northern L.A. County and Ventura County, our endorsed candidate Christy Smith defeated incumbent Dante Acosta, and in Assembly District 74 central coastal Orange County, our endorsed candidate Cottie Petrie-Norris defeated incumbent Matt Harper.
City Councils: The Angeles Chapter regional groups and political committee recommended the endorsement of 22 candidates in city council races throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. 15 of the endorsed candidates were victorious.
Water Districts: Endorsement recommendations were made in 4 water districts located in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. All 4 of our endorsed candidates were elected.
These victories were the results of months of hard work by volunteers throughout the Chapter. The L.A. County and Orange County Political Committees began sending out questionnaires, and interviewing candidates for endorsement recommendations a year before the election. Votes were taken by the Political Committees, management committees for regional groups in areas for local city council and water district races, and the Chapter Executive Committee to reach consensus on recommendations. Those recommendations were approved by either the national Sierra Club Political Team or the State/Local Candidate Review Committee. Funds were raised by the California Sierra Club Political Action Committee to support endorsed candidates for state and local offices throughout California. Sierra Club members were out canvassing, phone banking, tweeting, and yes, stuffing envelopes for candidates endorsed in their area. They appeared at campaign events and rallies and urged fellow Sierra Club members to register and vote.
Our concerns were heard at the ballot box. Now is the time to congratulate our winning candidates and to offer to meet with them to discuss areas of local interest. There will be many organizations vying for the attention of these elected officials. The Sierra Club Angeles Chapter and its members need to be among them.