Many Republican Climate Solutions Caucus Members Suffer Defeat in Midterm Elections

Published January 8, 2019

A large number of Republican members of the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus (CSC) lost their seats in the November midterm elections.

Before the election, the CSC had 86 members, with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. The group has supported climate change reduction policies such as increased taxes on oil, gas, and electricity and increased regulation of the coal, natural gas, and oil industries.

Fourteen of the 43 Republican CSC members, including caucus cofounder Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), lost their reelection bids. Seven Republican CSC members retired—five of whom were replaced by Democrats—and one caucus member was ousted in the primary. As a result, CSC has now lost more than half of its Republican members.

‘Political Fool’s Gold’

The defeat of so many Republican CSC members was entirely predictable, says James Taylor, a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News.

“It is completely unsurprising less than half the Republican CSC members will be returning to Congress in 2019,” said Taylor. “Republicans who attempt to appease the Left will never gain enough support from the Left to offset the depressing impact their betrayal of conservative values has upon the Republican voter base.

“Republicans who join the CSC are chasing political fool’s gold,” Taylor said. “They reap what they sow when they sell out conservative Republican values.”

Raising Energy Prices Unpopular

This election showed promoting policies that raise energy prices is not a political winner, says Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.

“I think the results of this election proved pretty conclusively being for climate policies that will raise peoples’ energy prices is not popular, they don’t help candidates to get reelected, and they particularly don’t help Republicans in marginal districts,” Ebell said. “The way the carbon dioxide tax went down in Washington State, which is very strongly green and very strongly Democratic, proves these policies are not popular, because it lost in a referendum by a wide margin.

“The lesson Republicans should take away from this election debacle is swearing allegiance to the green agenda and saying we have to do something about climate change and raise peoples’ energy prices doesn’t resonate with very many people,” said Ebell. “Supporters of policies to restrict carbon dioxide emissions are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to the costs of these policies and what people are willing to put up with.”

Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.


Tim Huelskamp, “Press Release: A Bad Midterm Election for Republicans in Climate Solutions Caucus,” The Heartland Institute, November 7, 2018: