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May 06, 2014

The North Carolina Republican Primary: No Matter Who Wins, We All Lose


Imagine there is a blaze rapidly burning in a field next to your neighborhood, threatening to incinerate your home and everything around it. You decide you’ve got to do something to protect your family and your livelihood, so you pick up the phone, and dial 911. But instead of connecting you with the fire department, the operator laughs and tells you that they won’t do anything. In fact, they tell you they don’t even believe the fire exists -- all while the smoke fills your windows and the flames nip your doorstep.  

Sounds ridiculous, right? Not so much, in North Carolina.

North Carolina is home to a Republican U.S. Senate field that completely fails to recognize one of the most pressing crises facing the state. Thom Tillis, Greg Bannon, Heather Grant, and Mark Harris -- each and every one of the four candidates going before voters in the GOP primary today -- deny that the climate crisis even exists.

One local paper said “few places in the United States stand to be more transformed” by climate disruption than North Carolina. The sea level of the ocean adjacent to the state is expected to rise by more than three feet in the decades to come -- threatening a coastal area four times larger than the state’s largest county. That puts more than 30,000 homes and buildings in danger -- more than $6.9 billion in property in just four counties.

You’d think someone like Thom Tillis would be screaming for action at every chance he could get, agreeing with the 97 percent of climate scientists recognizing that the climate crisis is very real and very dangerous. ButTillis, Bannon, Grant, and Harris all have their heads in the sand while the sea is rising.

It’s a bad situation for any Republican voter in North Carolina who actually wants to protect their home or business from extreme weather fuelled by the climate crisis. And it’ll be much worse when one of them moves on to the November general election, with an eye on heading to the U.S. Senate.

These four peas in a reality-denying pod have already shown they can’t be trusted in a crisis.

The Sierra Club Voter Education Fund seeks to educate voters about issues important to our members by responding to statements and positions made in an electoral context, with the goal to encourage the public to find out more about the candidates and their positions on these issues.


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