RIP, Republican Moderates

Photo by House Committee on Education and Labor, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/34120602@N05/3526059603">via Flickr</a>.

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


Christine O’Donnell’s defeat of congressional veteran Mike Castle in Delaware’s Senate primary yesterday has the political class chattering. Among the many things, her win marks the defeat of the only Republican Senate candidate who was not a climate change denier.

Questioning the science of climate change is back in a big way with GOP candidates this fall. Castle was the only candidate who not only accepted that climate change is happening, but also endorsed action to stop it. His demise in the Senate primary also means that there will be one less moderate GOP voice in the House next year.

Castle was one of only eight Republicans to vote for the House climate and energy bill in June 2009. He joined Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), John McHugh (N.Y.), Dave Reichert (Wash.), Chris Smith (N.J), Leonard Lance (N.J), and Mark Kirk (Ill.) in voting for the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Without their votes, the measure would have failed. But conservative activists lambasted them for their votes, casting them as “sell-outs” and “traitors.”

The backlash caused some of them to backtrack on support. Kirk, who is now running for Senate in Illinois, later said he would vote against the same measure as a senator. But Castle was unflinching in his support for action on climate change.

O’Donnell’s win may upend the chance for the GOP to take the Senate. But it also means one of the last voices of moderation in the party is now out of electoral politics. I have a piece up on the main site today about the prospects for leadership on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee should Republicans retake the House. With almost no moderate Republican voices like Castle’s left in the House these days, it becomes even more likely that the far right will be calling the shots in the 112th Congress.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate