Conservation Voters Group Adds Candidates to Election Year Hit List
By Bill Ghent
One of the nation's top environmental groups on Wednesday added four Republicans and one Democrat to the list of candidates it wants to trample in the upcoming November elections.
The League of Conservation Voters, a bipartisan group that annually rates lawmakers on their environmental voting record, plans to spend up to $2 million on ads, polling and grassroots campaigns to defeat what it sees as vulnerable, anti-environment candidates in tight races this fall.
The five lawmakers listed Wednesday include incumbents Sen. Lauch Faircloth, R-N.C., and Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Al.; first-time senatorial candidates Rep. Linda Smith, R-Wash., and Rep. John Ensign, R-Nev.; and Californian Republican Tom Bordonaro, who is running for the House.
These five join another six candidates announced in June for LCV's "Dirty Dozen" election-year hit list. Those six lawmakers included Reps. Helen Chenoweth, R-Idaho, John Hostettler, R-Ind., Bill Redmond, R-N.M., and Charlie Stenholm, D-Texas. Also listed were Rep. Mark Neumann, R-Wis., who is running for the Senate against Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold, and former Republican congressman Bob Dornan, a candidate against Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif.
The group plans to announce its final Dirty Dozen list "soon," the group said in a written statement.
"The LCV Action Fund named these eleven Congressional candidates to the Dirty Dozen because they consistently vote against the public's interest in a clean and healthy environment," said LCV President Deb Callahan. "Voters want a clean and healthy environment and they deserve a Congress who will help them have it."
The group offered several reasons why the six named Wednesday made this year's list.
FAIRCLOTH: According to LCV, Faircloth has taken more than $1 million from special interests that "lobby to weaken" environmental safeguards the most of any other senator running for reelection this year. Faircloth, who also was one of only three senators to vote against a reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1995, owns several massive hog operations in his home state that LCV claims have caused the death of more than 6,100 fish along 25 miles of the Great Coharie Creek and Black River.
SMITH: The Republican challenger to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Smith has voted against clean water and public-right-to-know initiatives during her two terms in the House, the group said.
BORDONARO: LCV said Bordonaro, who is challenging Rep. Lois Capps, D- Calif., this November, has amassed an "abysmal" environmental record during his tenure in the California Assembly, supporting legislation to weaken the state's Clean Air Act and a bill promoted by oil companies to weaken safe drinking water standards.
CRAMER: Only the second Democrat targeted by LCV this election season, Cramer has voted for weakening the Clean Water Act and public-right-to- know initiatives. His environmental voting record has also "plummeted" over the past couple of years, the group said.
ENSIGN: While Ensign has been a friend to environmentalists in opposing a nuclear waste storage dump in his home state of Nevada, LCV nonetheless listed him for voting for the so-called "Dirty Water Act" in 1995 and for "showing contempt for conservation and public health causes by calling environmentalists 'socialists'," the group said. Ensign is challenging Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., this fall.
© Copyright 1998 LEGI-SLATE News Service