North Carolina

With its unique geography, access to mountains, the ocean and temperate climate, there is no doubt that the Old North State has outdoor recreation opportunities for all interests. But those opportunities, and experiences are threatened by climate change–right now.

After at least three “once in a century” weather events took place in the state over the course of two years, North Carolinians have started to accept climate science. Major flooding causing coal ash and hog waste to contaminate water supplies have residents looking for elected leaders to do more.

North Carolina’s senate race will be one of the most hotly contested battles this November. In fact, in 2014, the campaign for this seat was the most expensive in history at that time, and will again pull in millions of dollars in outside spending and national attention. North Carolina is a right-leaning purple state. Moderate Democrats have had success winning state-wide races over the past decade, but the state legislature remains firmly in Republican hands. Current Senator Thom Tillis defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan by less than 2 percent or approximately 45,000 votes. Though not seen as a likely pick up early in the 2020 election cycle, North Carolina has become a true toss-up, with former democratic State Senator Cal Cunningham now consistently polling 2 to 4 percent ahead of Tillis. As for U.S. House races in the state, districts were court-ordered to be redrawn in 2019, shifting the political calculation across the state. POW AF’s targets of Congressional Districts 2 and 13 saw their political leanings shift with Congressional District 2 moving to a likely democratic district and 13 holding on to its Republican leanings, though shifting slightly more to the center. POW AF also identified Congressional District 11 as a district where it could have some influence. Though the very liberal city of Asheville is in the district, two very conservative counties were also included when political lines were redrawn in 2019. That being said, a strong democratic candidate is up against a weak GOP candidate and polling is much closer than it should be.

POW Action Fund has endorsed Cal Cunningham for U.S. Senate, Deborah Ross for CD02, Moe Davis in CD11 and Scott Huffman in CD13.

CAL CUNNINGHAM

DEEP DIVE:

CARBON PRICING:

Cunningham does not include any language on carbon pricing as part of his campaign platform and POW AF researchers could not find instances in published media or in the public record of the candidate expressing views on this issue.

RENEWABLE ENERGY:

Cunningham believes in reducing emissions and achieving 100 percent carbon neutrality by 2050, saying, “let’s take our cues from places like North Carolina, which has led the way on growing the solar industry. We should rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. We need to support efforts to train workers for the green energy jobs of the future. And we should invest in research and development to be at the forefront of creating new technologies.”

Cunningham supports federal investment in the clean energy economy, including funding renewable energy development and incentivizing renewable energy through tax credits. He has said that he wants to “make sure that we look over the horizon and use the power of the federal government to create incentives for alternative forms of energy.”

Cunningham has said that tackling climate change will be a top priority and promises to be a particularly strong advocate for North Carolina’s solar industry. He believes that North Carolina can “lead on solar energy.”

Cunningham believes the U.S. should rejoin the Paris Agreement.

Cunningham supports the creation of a renewable energy standard, which would require utilities to generate an increasing amount of energy from renewable sources and reduce carbon emissions.

As a North Carolina State Senator, Cunningham has a track record of supporting meaningful environmental regulations. He was a co-sponsor of legislation that reduced harmful pollutants from the state’s coal-fired power plants by over 70 percent.

PUBLIC LANDS:

Unlike his opponent, Cunningham strongly opposes drilling off the North Carolina coast and has promised to “fight to protect” the coast. He has said that “there is not enough oil and gas off of North Carolina’s coast to be a meaningful part of an energy solution for America.”

ELECTRIFYING TRANSPORTATION:

Cunningham does not include any language on electrification of transportation as part of his campaign platform and POW AF researchers could not find instances in published media or in the public record of the candidate expressing views on this issue.

Deborah Ross

DEEP DIVE:

CARBON PRICING:

Ross has not expressed views on the issue and POW AF researchers were unable to determine whether or not he would support putting an economy-wide price on carbon.

RENEWABLE ENERGY:

Although she has not called for a transition to 100 percent carbon-free energy, Ross has a record of supporting renewable energy in her private practice, and as a member of the North Carolina Assembly. She has called for investment in renewable energy and clean technology investments, fought legislation to roll back energy conservation work, and has called for a reduction in fossil fuel energy usage.

PUBLIC LANDS:

As a member of the North Carolina Assembly, Ross repeatedly voted in opposition of fracking-friendly legislation. She has vowed to fight offshore drilling and has made access to clean air and water a central component of her platform.

ELECTRIFYING TRANSPORTATION:

Ross stated her goal is to drive investment in transportation and infrastructure projects that increase renewable energy options to pursue a carbon-free future.

MOE DAVIS

DEEP DIVE:

CARBON PRICING:

POW AF researchers could not find instances in published media or in the public record of the candidate expressing views on this issue.

RENEWABLE ENERGY:

It is unclear if Davis supports a 100 percent transition to renewables or in what timeframe. However, he has made it clear that he supports renewable energy and has called for Western North Carolina to be a leader in renewable energy development. “We need to look to the future, not the past, and alternative energy is the right road to be on.”

PUBLIC LANDS:

POW AF researchers couldn’t find any instances of Davis talking about the limiting of fossil fuel extraction from public lands. Davis has called for more funding for the National Parks Service, and said we have a “moral obligation to preserve and protect our land, air and water.” 

ELECTRIFYING TRANSPORTATION:

POW AF researchers could not find instances in published media or in the public record of the candidate expressing views on this issue.

SCOTT HUFFMAN

DEEP DIVE:

CARBON PRICING:

Huffman has not expressed views on the issue and POW AF researchers were unable to determine whether or not he would support putting an economy-wide price on carbon. Tangential statements he’s made on climate and clean energy reflect that he would likely be open to such measures.

RENEWABLE ENERGY:

Huffman believes the United States can move to 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 and be 100 percent free from carbon-based fuel by 2050.

PUBLIC LANDS:

As a member of the North Carolina Assembly, Huffman repeatedly voted in opposition of fracking-friendly legislation. She has vowed to fight offshore drilling and has made access to clean air and water a central component of her platform.

ELECTRIFYING TRANSPORTATION:

Huffman has not expressed views on the issue and POW AF researchers were unable to determine whether or not he would support putting an economy-wide price on carbon. Tangential statements he’s made on climate and clean energy reflect that he would likely be open to such measures.


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