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  • Climate Politics Almanac: June 28 primary preview, Part II

Climate Politics Almanac: June 28 primary preview, Part II

A look ahead at Tuesday's key climate races in IL, NY, OK, and UT

Continuing the June 28 primary preview with Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah.

Illinois

IL-Gov: Democratic governor J.B. Pritzker is running for a second term. As in Pennsylvania, California, and several of the Colorado races mentioned in Part I, Democrats are pursuing a careful-what-you-wish-for strategy of trying to pick extremist Republican general election opponents. The Democratic Governors Association is spending to boost far-right state senator Darren Bailey in the Republican primary over Aurora mayor Richard Irvin.

IL-01: Rep. Bobby Rush is retiring, creating a crowded field to determine his successor. Rush and the New Democrats Caucus have endorsed Karin Norington-Reaves. Meanwhile, many progressives Green New Dealers, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Chuy García, have endorsed Jonathan Jackson, the son of Rev. Jesse Jackson. Unfortunately, cryptocurrency interests are also spending heavily to support Jackson. Progressive state senator Jacqui Collins is another contender.

Delia Ramirez for Illinois’ 3rd District

IL-03: The progressive candidate here is state representative and Green New Deal champion Delia Ramirez, who is being attacked by corporate super PACs boosting her opponent, Chicago alderman Gilbert Villegas.

IL-06: As covered previously, this matchup pits two climate hawks against each other. Rep. Sean Casten, a New Democrat and Financial Services Committee Member whose legislation helped lay the groundwork for the SEC’s climate disclosure rule, has seemed to be the favorite against Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) freshman Rep. Marie Newman. Tragically, Casten’s teenage daughter passed away suddenly earlier this month, and Newman announced she would suspend ads that her campaign had been running.

Kina Collins for Illinois’ 7th

IL-07: A wide range of progressive organizations, including the Sunrise Movement, Justice Democrats, and more have lined up to support Green New Deal champion Kina Collins in her primary challenge to Rep. Danny Davis, a CPC Member who has held elected office since 1979 and sits on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, but has been accused of being absent in his duties in Congress.

IL-17: With Rep. Cheri Bustos retiring, there are a large number of candidates in the race to be her successor. The major contenders seem to be climate hawk and TV meteorologist Eric Sorensen, state representative Litesa Wallace, and Rockford alderman Jonathan Logemann.

New York

Federal and state primaries were originally scheduled to take place simultaneously on Tuesday, but following a series of court rulings that forced new legislative maps, a contentious set of congressional and state senate primaries will now take place in NY on August 23.

Jumaane Williams and Ana María Archia

NY-Gov: Incumbent Kathy Hochul, who became New York’s first female governor following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo, is the favorite to win the primary here, notwithstanding her pro-gun, anti-immigrant record in Erie County and in Congress. She is being attacked on that record by a strange source, Rep. Tom Suozzi, an aggressively centrist, pro-Wall Street, pro-pharma Democrat who obstructed Build Back Better in its initial stages and has historically enjoyed substantial backing from the Trump-supporting billionaire Ken Langone. Hochul’s actually progressive challenger is NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the endorsed candidate of the Working Families Party and Sunrise Movement NYC, among others. Although the legislative session in Albany wrapped up a few weeks ago with several disappointing outcomes for the climate, Hochul still has a lot of legislation pending on her desk after the primary. One major climate test Hochul is facing is whether to sign or veto a two-year moratorium on fossil-fueled cryptocurrency mining.

NY-LG: This race was blown wide open when Hochul’s original selection for lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, resigned after being indicted. For a moment, it looked like Working Families Party candidate and well-known AOC ally/Jeff Flake confronter Ana María Archila might be the frontrunner over Suozzi’s running mate, NYC Councilmember Diana Reyna. Archila still has a shot, as she has enjoyed some high-profile endorsements, including from AOC and from NYC Comptroller/climate hawk Brad Lander. But after Hochul pressured the state legislature into changing the law to allow her to appoint a new LG, Antonio Delgado abandoned a competitive seat in Congress to accept Hochul’s appointment, thus becoming the incumbent and the new frontrunner. When the pending legislation establishing a two-year crypto mining moratorium came up at a recent debate, Reyna channeled Don’t Look Up (“your father and I support the jobs the comet will create”), while Delgado said Hochul should give a moratorium on such an energy intensive practice “serious thought.” By contrast, Archila came out strongly in support of the moratorium and criticized Delgado and Hochul for waffling on the issue.

Oklahoma

OK-Sen-B (special): Arguably the biggest climate villain in elected office over the past several decades has been Senator James Inhofe, author of “The Greatest Hoax,” who once attempted to refute climate science by taking a snowball onto the Senate floor. After winning re-election in 2020, Inhofe announced his retirement. The Democratic candidate in the special election to fill Inhofe’s seat this fall will be former Rep. Kendra Horn. The Republican primary will take place on June 28, and a crowded field of candidates are eagerly competing to take Inhofe’s place denying fossil-fueled devastation. Among the candidates are former Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, former Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland, former Oklahoma state house speaker TW Shannon, state senator Nathan Damm, and former Rep. Markwayne Mullin.

Utah

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Coup)

UT-Sen: Insurrectionist Sen. Mike Lee is up for another term. After receiving a standing ovation in April at the Utah state GOP convention, he is the favorite in his primary against former state representative Becky Edwards and businesswoman Ally Isom. Democrats have opted not to field a candidate in the general election here, and instead are supporting 2020 presidential candidate Evan McMullin.

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