COLUMBIA, SC – Conservation Voters of South Carolina Political Action Committee’s (CVSC-PAC) series of primary victories on Tuesday night sends a clear signal that clean energy is a top priority among Republican and Democratic voters, the group shared on Wednesday.
“Voters sent clear messages to their legislators Tuesday night – that support for clean energy is a political necessity and that supporting the agenda of big utility monopolies is a risky political proposition. The blowout wins of our candidates show that voters support growing our clean energy economy and that CVSC-PAC will work to ensure these voters’ voices are heard,” shared John Tynan, CVSC-PAC Executive Director.
CVSC-PAC’s electoral engagement strategy in the 2018 primary elections was guided by a pursuit of a bipartisan clean energy majority in the State House. With its series of primary wins on Tuesday night, South Carolina now boasts a solid, bipartisan 68-vote clean energy majority in the State House.
“We are the political arm of the conservation community,” shared Jennie Pezé, CVSC-PAC Board Chair. “Our job is to hold legislators accountable for their votes and ensure they represent the conservation values of voters from across the state. By re-electing clean energy champions and defeating anti-solar incumbents, voters did just that on Tuesday night.”
A series of 14 hotly-contested solar votes in the 2018 legislative session highlighted that the South Carolina House was within striking distance of a strong, consistent, bipartisan clean energy majority. After reviewing the votes, the path became clear, Pezé shared.
“We knew that, if given a choice, voters would reject anti-solar politicians and choose leaders who are committed to a clean energy future. Tuesday’s results confirm that belief in a big way,” Pezé shared.
CVSC-PAC invested heavily in races to re-elect clean energy champions like Reps. Nathan Ballentine (R-Chapin) and Micah Caskey (R-West Columbia), to put pro-solar champions like Randy Ligon (R-Chester) and Max Hyde (R-Spartanburg) in open seats, and replace anti-solar incumbents with clean energy supporters like in the House 21 Republican primary where CVSC-PAC helped Bobby Cox defeat Rep. Phyllis Henderson.
“With ad after ad attacking CVSC and Bobby Cox, the District 21 election became a referendum on clean energy. When they picked Bobby Cox, voters overwhelmingly demanded bold, new leadership that supports a clean energy economy,” said Tynan.
Aided by its national partner, the League of Conservation Voters, CVSC-PAC raised over $117,000 in support of candidates committed to a clean energy future and pollution free South Carolina. The group invested heavily in direct voter contact with over 20 paid field staff knocking on over 21,135 doors. CVSC-PAC complemented its field investments with over 206,000 pieces of mail, 5,000 persuasion calls, 2,500 GOTV calls, and over 670,654 digital impressions in support of its endorsed candidates throughout the state.
CVSC-PAC endorsed 13 candidates in House primary elections, including 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats.
Among the key victories highlighted by CVSC-PAC are:
- James Smith’s landslide victory in the Democratic Gubernatorial primary. Smith has a 125% on CVSC’s conservation scorecard for 2018 and was a key leader on pro-solar legislation.
- Nathan Ballentine’s landslide re-election in House 71 Republican primary. Ballentine went 14 for 14 in the series of clean energy votes and introduced a budget proviso to double the solar net metering cap and save 3,000 solar jobs.
- Bobby Cox’s landslide victory in the House 21 Republican primary. His opponent, Rep. Henderson, went 1 for 14 in the series of clean energy votes and scored a 19% on CVSC’s Conservation Scorecard in 2018.
CVSC and CVSC-PAC are the only bipartisan conservation organizations working to hold elected leaders accountable for a clean and healthy environment in South Carolina. We fight for South Carolina’s air, water, land, and energy through bipartisan and pragmatic political action.