Yes, we can. Yes, we did. And, indeed, YES WE WILL!
At Ocean Champions, we woke this morning with a renewed sense of hope. A hope and knowledge that in the coming days, we will advance our work for healthy oceans with a stronger cadre of ocean leaders working beside us. Overall, we had a great night, with 26 wins, 5 losses, and 2 races still too close to call.
Our biggest victories include two new Senators - Kay Hagan (D) in North Carolina and Jeanne Shaheen (D) in New Hampshire. We've never won a Senate race against an incumbent, and these are huge. Close wins in the House include John Adler (D), who will take over the House seat of retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (R), a great ocean champion. With her past work of protecting the environmental integrity of coral reefs and other coastal marine resources, Ros-Lehtinen (R) in Florida was another great victory for the oceans.
While the victories are sweet, the losses hurt, and the cliffhangers are certain to make us lie awake at night for days, maybe weeks, we can hold our heads high today knowing that we're doing what we need to do to change 'business as usual' in our political leadership. So while it looks like we may have lost two close House races against entrenched incumbents - Linda Ketner (D) who was trying to unseat Rep. Henry Brown in SC and Nick Leibham (D) trying to defeat Rep. Brian Bilbray from California - we've put these two incumbents on notice that we'll go after them if they don't pursue policies that are beneficial to their ocean districts.
We made some really smart plays that will pay off in a new Democratic administration, and we helped keep in place a really solid Republican, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) in a swing district. Together, with your support, we're very well set up to have a great deal of influence in this new day in American politics. We couldn't have done this without you.
One would think we'd just want to revel in these victories, for a while. Surprisingly, this is not where we find ourselves. We look around at our co-workers, friends and family and what we see is a community of people rolling up their shirt-sleeves. Standing a little taller. Wanting to get to work rebuilding this country for our oceans.
For The Oceans,
The Ocean Champions Team
P.S. Read more on our election experiences and share your stories with us on our blog.