“Rep. Richard Pombo’s loss represents the most significant electoral victory the environmental movement has seen in decades. It should now be clear to all that we have the political strength to take on and defeat extreme anti-environmental politicians, even powerful chairmen of congressional committees.
“Pombo’s defeat also serves as notice that extreme anti-environmental positions can be an extreme liability on the campaign trail. It shows that Congressmen who put the wishes of the special interests above the public interest can be made to pay the price at the ballot box. This is a message that should be heeded by all lawmakers who choose to favor campaign contributors in the oil, mining, timber, and development industries.
“Richard Pombo is the first committee chairman in at least the last five election cycles to lose a re-election bid. His defeat removes one of the main driving forces behind much of Congress’ anti-environmental agenda and hopefully will pave the way for a saner, science-driven approach to our nation’s environmental challenges. And it sends a clear message that the American people want an environmental policy that protects our natural heritage for future generations, not one that gives priority to promoting the interests of big campaign contributors.
“Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund got into this race when essentially everyone else thought Pombo was unbeatable. We shared our polling and analysis with other environmental, conservation and animal welfare groups, which joined forces with us in what has been probably the most cooperative electoral effort ever in our broad community. Defenders action fund started our campaign in October 2005 and continued through the spring and summer and into the fall, encouraging Pombo’s constituents to ask him tough questions about his extreme anti-environmental record and his close ties to special interests. In the closing weeks of the campaign we kept up the pressure and led an extensive grassroots campaign comprised of Action Fund volunteers and volunteers from other environmental, conservation and animal welfare groups. And all our hard work paid off, as we succeeded in defeating the most significant anti-environmentalist in Congress, which can pave the way for true progress on the important environmental issues of the 21st century.”
Contact: Mark Longabaugh (202) 812-9410, William Lutz (703) 568-7600