Muckraker: Grist on Politics

The League of Conservation Voters has announced that it’s endorsing Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins in her bid for reelection.

“Sen. Collins is a leader and a champion for the environment, reaching across party lines to introduce and support bipartisan pieces of legislation that hold oil companies accountable for their high profits, invest in clean energy alternatives, and promote fuel efficiency for vehicles,” said LCV Senior Vice President Tony Massaro in a statement. “Sen. Collins brings Maine’s strong spirit of conservation to Washington, and she continues to be one of the nation’s most powerful voices for clean, renewable energy.”

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Susan Collins

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Susan Collins.

Collins was one of only three senators, and the only Republican, to receive a perfect score on LCV’s 2007 National Environmental Scorecard — and she’s the only Republican the group has endorsed in a Senate race this year. Her lifetime LCV score for her 11 years in Congress is 68 percent.

Collins’ Democratic challenger this year is Rep. Tom Allen (whom Grist interviewed recently). Allen also earned a 100 percent score from LCV last year, and has a lifetime score of 93 percent in the House.

Collins is currently outpolling her opponent by 10 points.

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Grist caught up with LCV’s Massaro to find out a little more about the pick. “She has demonstrated great leadership, particularly on global warming,” he said. “We think that she’s going to play a critical role in 2009 in helping us get the 60 votes we’re going to need to move something in the Senate.”

“She’s literally been to all ends of the earth looking at global warming and global warming problems, seeing the impacts of them first-hand,” he continued. “I think she’s got, as a result, an amazing ability to tell the story about global warming that helps not just with Republicans, but helps her reach across the aisle to some of the Democrats that we are challenged with to get support on strong global warming legislation.”

In a press release, Collins thanked LCV for the endorsement. “I will continue to work with LCV and forward-thinking leaders from both parties to ensure a cleaner future for us all,” she said. “The only way to find solution to the most pressing environmental and energy challenges facing our nation is to come together across party and regional lines.”