Cooler Heads Digest 07 November 2014

7 November 2014


Sixty six groups led by the American Energy Alliance sent a coalition letter this week to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to oppose the inclusion of the wind production tax credit (PTC) in any lame duck tax extenders package during the remainder of this congressional session. Click here to read the letter.

In the News

Dear GOP: Don’t Rescue Obama Energy Policy with Wind PTC Extension
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 7 November 2014

Enough of Big Ethanol Bullying Voters
Nan Swift, Washington Examiner, 7 November 2014

West Virginia’s White, Pro-Coal Democratic Senate Candidate Fared Even Worse Than Obama
David Weigel, Bloomberg, 6 November 2014

GOP Election Rout Delivers Blow to U.S. Leadership Role on Climate Change
John Cushman, Jr., Inside Climate News, 5 November 2014

Obama: Stop Bugging Me About Keystone
Ben Geman, National Journal, 5 November 2014

Sierra Club’s Wacky Take on the Election: Environmentalists Failed Due to “Sinister Voter Suppression Tactics”
William Yeatman,, 5 November 2014

Climate Was Barely a Factor in Midterms
Brad Plumer, Vox, 4 November 2014

The Crazy Reason Two Auto Companies Were Fined $100 Million
Nicolas Loris, Daily Signal, 4 November 2014

News You Can Use
Election’s Biggest Loser: Alarmism

Last week, the Cooler Heads Digest reported on the scores of millions of dollars that green special interests and their billionaire benefactors spent on the midterm elections. Regarding their efforts, this week’s Politico headline delivers the final word: “Tom Steyer, Greens Have Rough Night at the Polls.”

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Big Green’s $85 Million Fails To Keep Senate under Harry Reid’s Control

Republicans gained at least seven and probably nine Senate seats in the 4th November congressional elections and will take control of the Senate when the 114th Congress is sworn in on 3rd January.  Senator Mitch McConnell, the current minority leader, defeated Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky by 52 to 44% and will become majority leader.  EPA regulations to kill the coal industry were a big issue in the campaign.

House Republicans increased their numbers to between 245 and 250 from 233 in the current Congress.  With several races still to be called, the Republicans could hold more seats in the House of Representatives than at any time since 1929.

Republicans did this despite massive spending by billionaire green activist Tom Steyer and the big environmental pressure groups.  As I reported last week, Big Green spent over $85 million trying to elect global warming alarmists.  They failed miserably.  Their issues did not resonate at all.  As Republican pollster Whit Ayres said, “It is difficult to find an issue that voters place lower on the list than climate change.”

Steyer and leading environmentalists have spent the week trying to explain away how they spent so much and achieved so little. But environmental advocates, such as Brad Plumer writing on Vox, were also quick to acknowledge that the global warming establishment was the biggest loser in the elections. Here’s the good news from Rebecca Leber in the New Republic: “Congratulations, voters.  You just made this climate denier the most powerful Senator on the environment.”  She refers to Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), who is set to return as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.  

In a press conference the day after the election, President Barack Obama admitted, “The Republicans had a good night.”  He then went on to say that he was not planning to make a mid-term course correction or shake up the White House staff, as did Presidents George W. Bush in 2006 and Bill Clinton in 1994.  It’s going to be an interesting two years in Washington, DC. 

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Republicans Make Historic Gains in State Legislatures

The Republican takeover of the Senate was the big story on election night.  A few days to look at the election results at the state level has convinced me that the stunning scope of Republican victories in state legislative races is at least as big a story and will have bigger consequences over time. 

Republicans increased their control of the 98 partisan state legislative bodies (Nebraska’s legislature is non-partisan and unicameral) from 57 to 67 (and after the election, a party switcher gave Republicans control of one more).  Once all the races are called, it is almost certain there will be more Republican state legislators than the previous high of 4001 achieved in 1928.

Democrats lost their majorities in the West Virginia House for the first time since 1931.  West Virginia’s current House of Delegates has 54 Democrats and 47 Republicans.  The new House will have 64 Republicans and 36 Democrats. After Democrats lost seven state Senate seats in West Virginia, a Democratic state senator announced that he would switch parties, which will give Republicans control of the state Senate, again for the first time since 1931.  In New Mexico, Republicans won control of the state House for the first time since 1954. 

Democrats also lost their majorities in the Nevada House and Senate, their Senate majorities in New York, Colorado, Maine, and Washington, and their House majorities in Minnesota and New Hampshire.

Before the election, Republicans controlled both legislative chambers and the governorship in 23 States, Democrats in 13.  Republicans gained complete control in Nevada and Arkansas, but lost it in Pennsylvania (where incumbent Governor Tom Corbett lost) and Alaska (where an independent defeated incumbent Governor Sean Parnell).  Democrats, on the other hand, lost complete control in six States: Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, and West Virginia. 

Thirty-One States Now Have Republican Governors

The biggest surprise on election night was Republican Larry Hogan defeating Democratic Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown for Governor in Maryland.  Republicans Bruce Rauner and Charlie Baker also won surprising victories for Governor in Illinois and Massachusetts. 

Democrat Tom Wolf defeated Republican Governor Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania.  Otherwise, it was a big night for Republicans at the gubernatorial level, who now have thirty-one Governors.

Democrats now have one woman Governor—Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire.  Republicans have three—Susana Martinez in New Mexico, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, and Mary Fallin in Oklahoma.  Democrats have no Hispanic Governors, but Republicans have two—Martinez and Brian Sandoval in Nevada.  Republicans also have two Governors of Asian Indian descent—Haley and Bobby Jindal in Louisiana.  

The Cooler Heads Digest is the weekly e-mail publication of the Cooler Heads Coalition. For the latest news and commentary, check out the Coalition’s website,