November 8, 2006
WASHINGTON — In its first foray into political work, the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) announced today that 89% of endorsed candidates in the U.S. Senate and 91% of endorsed candidates in the U.S. House were elected on November 7. All in all, 24 of the 28 U.S. Senate candidates endorsed by HSLF were victorious, with three defeated and one race still too close to call. And 269 of the 301 HSLF-backed U.S. House candidates were elected to the 110th Congress, with 25 defeated and seven races still undecided. Through paid advertising, direct mail, and grassroots canvassing, HSLF helped to elect humane candidates, and defeat several candidates in high-profile races, particularly those called by HSLF the nation’s worst Senator, the nation’s worst Congressman, and the nation’s worst governor.
“Animal welfare issues cross party lines, and played a significant role in the 2006 midterm elections,” said Sara Amundson, executive director of HSLF. “We are very pleased that we could mobilize so many Americans who care about animals to get to polls on Tuesday, and to help us elect humane lawmakers.”
Rep. Richard Pombo goes back to the ranch: In California’s 11th District, U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo (R), named the “leading opponent of animal welfare in Congress” by HSLF, was defeated by energy expert Jerry McNerney (D) by a margin of 9,000 votes. Pombo, the powerful chairman of the House Resources Committee, has wreaked havoc on nearly every animal welfare bill in his fourteen years in office. He has traveled internationally to support the resumption of commercial whaling in Japan, and he has defended horse slaughter, trapping in national wildlife refuges, bear baiting on federal lands, and countless cruel practices.
Sen. Conrad Burns falls off his horse: What Pombo was to the U.S. House of Representatives, Conrad Burns (R) was to the U.S. Senate. As chairman of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, he slipped a rider into an omnibus bill in 2004 that repealed the protections held by wild horses and burros for more than three decades, and allowed these animals to be sold for commercial slaughter legally. Not only did he take an anti-animal position, but he did it in an un-democratic way, with no hearings or public debate. Burns lost a squeaker to state Senate President Jon Tester (D), by a margin of about 3,000 votes.
HSLF bears down on Gov. Robert Ehrlich: Only one gubernatorial race in the country rose to the level of HSLF’s attention, and it took place in Maryland. Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) has changed Maryland’s landscape for animals, for the worse, in his four years in the state’s top job. Due to his allegiance to the NRA and other trophy hunting groups, he repealed the state’s 51-year ban on trophy hunting of black bears. HSLF ran television ads in Maryland on the opening day of Ehrlich’s bear hunting season, urging voters to oppose his reelection. HSLF sent mailings to 70,000 Maryland voters, and volunteers canvassed door-to-door in every corner of the Free State. Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley (D), a supporter of animal welfare, defeated Ehrlich by a vote of 53% to 47%.
Other key races: HSLF helped to reelect some of the leading champions for animal welfare to Congress, some of whom were facing tough contests where HSLF activities likely tipped the balance, including Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) of Washington, Sen. John Ensign (R) of Nevada, Sen. Robert Byrd (D) of West Virginia, Rep. Mike Ferguson (R) of New Jersey’s 7th District, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R) of California’s 24th District, Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) of Pennsylvania’s 6th District, Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) of Ohio’s 15th District, Rep. Chris Shays (R) of Connecticut’s 4th District, and Rep. John Spratt (D) of South Carolina’s 5th District.
A complete report on HSLF’s other candidate activities, as well as statewide ballot measures, is available online at www.hslf.org. HSLF is a nonpartisan organization that evaluates candidates based only on a single criterion: where they stand on animal welfare. HSLF does not judge candidates based on party affiliation or any other issue.
Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Contributions or gifts to HSLF are not tax deductible. Your donation may be used for lobbying to pass laws to protect animals, as well as for political purposes, such as supporting or opposing candidates. HSLF does not accept contributions from business corporations or labor organizations. On the web at www.hslf.org.
Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. HSLF, 519 C Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002.