Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., right, answers questions from the local media during her event to exchange endorsements with Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., left, in Baton Rouge, La., surrounded by local elected officials on Sept. 22, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
With just under two weeks until an election in which control of the U.S. Senate is up for grabs, campaign ads are starting to intensify — in volume and rhetoric — in several key battleground states (Louisiana, Alaska, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Colorado and Michigan). Somewhat surprisingly, energy and environment are the third most mentioned issue in Senate races this cycle (surprising since it barely registered during the 2012 presidential campaign). Some are running because the states they air in are significant energy producers. Others are running in states that feature environmentally conscious electorates.
The ads tend to focus on coal, oil, green energy and climate change. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that West Virginia and Kentucky are leading the way in coal-related ads with both states featuring pro-coal positions in 87 percent of their energy-related ads. Also unsurprisingly, 39 percent of Iowa’s energy ads are anti-oil while 40 percent focus on green energy (likely, due to ethanol).
It’s also notable that both Democrats and Republicans are finding politically advantageous ways to deploy these energy ads. For instance, in blue states, Democrats are attacking Republicans for denying climate change and accepting money from the Koch brothers. And in red states, Republicans look to tie President Obama’s new environmental regulations around the necks of their opponents.