Climate Denier Ken Cuccinelli, Denied

After being the first statewide candidate in the nation who held his opponent accountable for denying climate science, Terry McAuliffe was elected the 72nd Governor of Virginia. A coalition of environmental organizations backed McAuliffe, including the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, which invested more than $500,000 to defeat climate denier Ken Cuccinelli.

This victory was made possible by a wide range of people whose efforts cannot be forgotten. Across the state, thousands of Virginians dedicated their time and opened their pocketbooks to show their support for Terry. The Sierra Club would like to thank all who were involved in the campaign, and it would be a long list to name all 870 people who volunteered with the Chapter, but we can definitely thank a few:

  • Michael Brune, SC Executive Director
  • Melissa Williams, SC National Political Director and the National staff
  • Virginia Chapter Director Glen Besa and the Chapter staff

Over 117 Sierra Club Members across the state logged anywhere from 2 to over 100 hours each! No other environmental organization can call on such amazing volunteer help.

Volunteers who logged 20 hours or more include: Judy Hinch, Donna Phillips, Ralph Grove, Linda Muller, Paula Chow, Wren Olivier, Jessica Gephart, Jessice Bennett, Jane Stephens, Barbara Slinker, Dave Levy, Stephanie Clifford, Douglas Brown, Daniel Adkins, Bob Pearson, Linda Chernisky, Linda Birchfiel, Katherine Bennett, Daniel Carawan, David Bernard, Judith Goodman, Joe Cook, Peyton Coyner, Joy Jacobson, James & Joyce Dillard, Patricia Selinger, Ellis James, and Tyla Matteson.

Sierra Club endorsed three state-wide candidates: McAuliffe, Northam, and Herring. In House of Delegates races, Sierra Club endorsed 40 candidates. In the local elections, Sierra Club Groups endorsed four candidates.

The results:

Statewide:  McAuliffe and Northam won by comfortable margins, and Mark Herring won a squaker of a race over opponent Mark Obenshain, out of over 2.2 million votes cast.  A recount is predicted.

House of Delegates: Of our Sierra Club endorsed candidates, all incumbents won reelection.  One challenger won – Monty Mason in Williamsburg, and one open seat candidate won – Marcus Simon in Northern Virginia.

The 20 Delegate Winners: Randy MInchew, Mark Keam, Ken Plum, David Belova, Kaye Kory, Vivian Watts, Eileen Filler-Corn, Mark Sickles, Scott Surovell, Rob Krupicka, Charniele Herring, Patrick Hope, Bob Brink, Alfonso Lopez, Marcus Somon, David Toscano, Betsy Carr, Jennifer McClellan, Joe Morrissey and Monty Mason.

The Sierra Club would like to thank all of our endorsed candidates for their hard work and dedication to the Old Dominion. We encourage them to run in future elections and continue their efforts to protect the environment.

Local Winners Include:

Jay Fisette – Arlington County Board

Marybeth Connolly and Dan Sze – Falls Church Board of Supervisors.

Thanks again for everyone’s help! This victory in Virginia is round one. Over the next twelve months and beyond, the Sierra Club’s 2.1 million members and supporters nationwide will build on this momentum and fight to elect clean energy champions and hold climate deniers accountable across the country. Those running for office now must choose whether they stand with solutions or whether they stand in the way. The climate crisis won’t wait, and neither will we.

– Tyla Matteson, Chapter Political Chair

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