Vote Climate U.S. PAC Announces 2022 Priority Governor’s Races

Karyn Strickler
6 min readNov 8, 2022


PRESS RELEASE: For More Information Contact: Karyn Strickler, President and Founder

Governors are Deciders-in-Chief for Climate and Choice: Vote Climate U.S. PAC 2022 Priority Governors Races

Vote Climate U.S. PAC’s priority Governors races are all tight races and Election Day, today Tuesday, November 8th will decide. They are pivotal for climate-action and reproductive choice because many decisions on these issues will be made on the state level and these executives will be key. According to Cook Political Report, our priority candidates are mostly toss-ups including: Tina Kotek (D) Oregon; and Katie Hobbs (D) in Arizona. Gretchen Whitmer (D) Michigan is in a race that leans Democratic.

Vote Climate U.S. PAC provides a climate change Voter’s Guide for candidates for Governors giving voters information on incumbent’s position: what do candidates say about the issue; leadership: what do they do; climate plan: how they will do it; and putting a fee on carbon polluters. Criteria for challengers and Incumbents are a bit different because there is generally less information publicly available for challengers. We also give information on Statehouses (partial). (Always click the green + button for detailed research.)

We also offer a U.S. House, U.S. Senate voter’s guide. Like most Voter’s Guides, we score incumbents on pivotal climate votes in Congress. We also assess a candidate’s position, leadership and putting a fee on carbon polluters. The average of those scores creates their Climate Calculation. While it is not part of our Climate Calculations, we included support or opposition to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, in our national and governors, climate change voter’s guide.

Our priority candidates all score significantly higher than their opponents. Every opponent to our priority candidates opposes Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion and many of them are 2020 election deniers. These are the races that we believe will most advance climate action and reproductive choice.

In Arizona, Katie Hobbs (D) Climate Calculation is 87.5. Her opponent scores 31.25, is a 2020 election denier and opposes Roe v. Wade. Hobbs receives a 100 on her climate position since understands the importance of climate action as a top priority issue. On her website, she says, “Climate change is not some hypothetical threat to be dealt with in the distant future. Arizonans are already feeling its effects through wildfires, extreme heat, and prolonged drought. Addressing this fundamental challenge requires swift action — including from our state government.” Her position on a fee on carbon is unclear.

In our Vote Climate U.S. PAC analysis of governors’ mean climate calculations by party, incumbent Republicans average 26.4% versus Democrats who score 66.7%, a difference of +40.3% for Democrats. For challengers, Democrats averaged 70.9% and Republicans 32.1%, with a +38.8% for Democrats.

While Democratic governors are better on the issue of climate change, we still need to see dramatic improvement from both parties. Vote Climate U.S. PAC gives candidates a 100 on climate plans that:

1) Support Using 100% Renewables by 2030

2) Keep Fossil Fuels (Coal, Oil and Gas) in the Ground

a. Supports ending fossil fuel subsidies

b. Supports ending fossil fuel extraction on public lands

c. Signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge

3) Support Zero Human Made Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050

4) Support Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) — Supports one or more of the following**:

a. Carbon Farming/Sustainable Agriculture

b. Reforestation and Afforestation

c. Wetland Construction

d. Direct Air Capture (DAC) of Carbon Dioxide with Recycling, powered by low-to-zero carbon energy sources

** If the candidate supports one or more of the above methods of CDR, they get credit for this category. Vote Climate U.S. PAC does not support Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) as a method of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) for fossil fuel plants or for the use of enhanced oil recovery, because it could extend the life of fossil fuel extraction.

Only incumbents are scored on climate plans because challengers are not public and vocal about those plans. Not a single incumbent governor in the country scores a 100 on their climate plan. In fact, the highest climate plan score in the country was a 50 given to Governor Gavin Newsome who supports taking action to keep fossil fuels in the ground by ending fossil fuel subsidies, and the use of carbon sequestration through carbon farming, reforestation, and afforestation, but not the other requirements detailed above.

The only incumbent governor on our priority candidate list is Gretchen Whitmer (D), Michigan whose Climate Calculation is 68.75, her opponent’s is 31.25. Whitmer scores a 100 on her position because she understands the importance of climate action as a top priority issue. According to her official website, Whitmer states, “The science is clear — climate change is directly impacting our public health, environment, our economy, and our families. This dangerous reality is already causing harm throughout Michigan, with communities of color and low-income Michiganders suffering disproportionately, which is why I’m taking immediate action to protect our state. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them a cleaner, safer and healthier world.”

Regarding her climate plan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer supports switching to 100% renewable energy sources by 2030, even sooner, pushing for state owned facilities to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2025. According to ‘WLUC-TV,’ “On Earth Day Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that state-owned facilities would utilize 100% renewable energy by 2025.” Since that is the only provision that she supports, Whitmer receives a score of 25 on climate plan.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer does not support the elimination of all human-made, greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, instead pushing to become carbon neutral by 2050. According to Whitmer’s official governor’s website, “Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020–182 and Executive Directive 2020–10 to create the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The governor’s comprehensive plan will protect Michiganders’ public health and the environment and help develop new clean energy jobs by putting Michigan on a path towards becoming fully carbon-neutral by 2050.”

Only the complete elimination of these greenhouse gas emissions will lead to a slow reduction in the atmosphere over the next century. Vote Climate U.S. PAC’s call to eliminate all human-made CO2 and methane emissions surpasses that of a net-zero carbon emission or a carbon neutral economy by 2050, which we do not believe goes far enough toward the elimination of fossil fuels.

On her campaign website, priority candidate Tina Kotek’s (D) Oregon says, “It is also our responsibility to do what we can to combat climate change, which is a real and present danger that Oregonians are already experiencing firsthand…she is committed to making sure Oregonians do our part.” Kotek’s Climate Calculation is 87.5, her opponent’s is 68.75.

None of our priority challengers for governor receive a 100 Climate Calculation because, while they have good positions on the issue, none take a clear and consistent position of a fee on carbon. In our entire Gubernatorial Voter’s Guide, only Brenda Siegel (D) Vermont and Charlie Crist (D) FL publicly support and advocate for a U.S. fee on carbon, which all candidates need to do, to receive a higher Climate Calculation.

Vote Climate U.S. PAC’s priority U.S. Senate candidates include: John Fetterman (D) Pennsylvania; U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D) Nevada; U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock (D) Georgia; U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (D) Arizona and Mandela Barnes (D) Wisconsin.

Please use and share our Vote Climate U.S. PAC Voter’s Guide for candidates for U.S. House, U.S. Senate, Governors and Statehouses (partial). (Always click the green + button for detailed research.). Vote Climate and Vote Choice on Tuesday, November 8th.

Karyn Strickler is Founder and President of Vote Climate U.S. PAC.



Karyn Strickler

Karyn Strickler is the Founder and President of Vote Climate U.S. PAC: