Dear Friend,Earlier this month, I stepped into a voting booth in my hometown of La Selva Beach, CA to support one of our greatest ocean champions, Congressman Sam Farr (CA-district 20). As I "connected the arrow" next to Sam's name, I realized that California represents a microcosm of what Ocean Champions is trying to accomplish around the country. We've already had an amazing year, providing our strongest political backing to support our champions so they can keep prioritizing our oceans on Capitol Hill, and some of the toughest races are being fought right here in my west coast backyard.
Folks outside of California tend to see us about as pro-ocean as it gets, and while we are proud of our ocean conservation leadership, we can’t take anything for granted. We have our share of champions like Congressmen Farr, Jared Huffman (CA-1), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), and Adam Schiff (CA-28), who have strong traditions and stalwart support in their home districts, and while nothing is ever guaranteed, the stars seem to be aligning for their return to Washington.
Yet, we also have existing champions who have been there for the oceans and who need our help to ensure they return to Congress. Congressmen Scott Peters (CA-52), John Garamendi (CA-3), Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Mike Honda (CA-17) and Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-24) all face tougher challenges in November, and all hold seats critical to our oceans. We are doing everything in our power to help them win.
We’re also finding new jewels in the ocean crown, like Congresswoman Julia Brownley, who we recently endorsed in her run for a second term representing California’s 26th district. And watch for a future announcement because we have another potential champion who may be deserving of our endorsement and support.
All of these endorsed and deserving champions in just one state, and yet even if they all win, it would only get us one-fifth of the way to our goal of helping elect or reelect 50 ocean champions in November—more than one out of every ten members of Congress when combined with the incumbent champions in the Senate who are not up for re-election this November. This is a huge challenge, but I feel more confident and committed than ever coming out of that voting booth.
This year, Ocean Champions is committing more direct financial support to champions than ever before, including hosting bundling events for champions, and running independent expenditure (IE) campaigns across the country. We help counteract the increasing flood of cash surging into so many races from anti-ocean conservation groups and private donors who prioritize pollution and profits over sense and sustainability. We may not be able to match them dollar-for-dollar, but we know we can match them vote-for-vote.
Ocean Champions has spent over $1.5 million since our formation helping elect pro-ocean candidates, including more than $550,000 in the last election cycle alone, and your contributions have led us to an 84% success rate. That’s right, more than 8 out of every 10 candidates endorsed and supported have WON their election, and every single dollar contributed to our PAC has gone directly to our candidates and their campaigns.
As you know, we're engaged in Florida running an IE campaign to unseat Ocean Enemy #1, Congressman Steve Southerland. We’re also running an IE campaign in New Hampshire on behalf of Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s re-election fight against carpet-bagging former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. And with your support we have plans to launch additional IE campaigns to help elect more champions and send an ocean-enemy or two back home.
The 2014 race is huge. The Senate’s balance of power will rest on just a few key races, including races in New Hampshire, Alaska, Oregon, and Colorado. Throughout the run-up to these critical elections, we will keep in touch with messages announcing new champions, opportunities to help us support our champions, and with updates on the victories won that prove how valuable our ocean champions are (we are still celebrating the bipartisan support that led Congress to pass the Harmful Algal Blooms Bill last week).
I am very proud to have cast my ballot for ocean champion Congressman Sam Farr. And I’m invigorated by the opportunity to extend our support to more champions than ever before as we keep pushing toward big wins for the ocean in 2014 from sea to shining sea.
For the oceans,
P.S. We’re working harder than ever to win the fight to build an ocean majority in Congress. Tell your friends to join our email list and to consider a contribution today so that they’ll know how to “vote the ocean” too!