Anti-animal protection candidates Steve King & Marsha Blackburn return to Congress
WASHINGTON D.C.––The November 6, 2018 election of a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives improves chances of successful defenses of the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and Animal Welfare Act against Republican attempts to dilute or at least weaken enforcement of all three of the keystone federal laws protecting animals and habitat.
Greyhound racing goes down in Florida
Public opinion appeared to favor animals in Florida and California, where voters overwhelmingly favored Amendment 13 and Proposition 12, respectively.
Florida Amendment 13, abolishing gambling on greyhound racing, passed easily 69% to 31%, despite the opposition of the National Rifle Association and Florida Farm Bureau.
Needed 60%––& got it
Offered as an amendment to the Florida state constitution, the measure needed at least 60% support to take effect. It easily cleared that hurdle, with strong bipartisan support.
Splitting the conservative vote, Florida Amendment 13 was promoted by Florida attorney general Pam Bondi and by Laura Trump, daughter-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Since Florida has 11 of the last 17 greyhound tracks still operating in the U.S., the passage of Amendment 13 all but ends the greyhound racing industry nationwide, leaving the six tracks in five other states scattered and isolated.
But greyhound racing will be allowed to continue at the remaining Florida tracks until January 1, 2021.
California Proposition 12 wins easily
California Proposition 12, addressing the confinement of egg-laying hens, farmed sows, and veal calves, was leading with 60% of the vote with about half the ballots counted.
Either passage or defeat of California Proposition 12 could have been claimed as an animal protection victory. The Humane Society of the U.S. led the campaign to place California Proposition 12 before the voters, backed by the American SPCA, Farm Sanctuary, Direct Action Everywhere, Compassion In World Farming, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Opposing California Proposition 12, however, as more likely to delay than accelerate the transition of the egg industry toward authentic cage-free systems, were the Humane Farming Association, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Friends of Animals, In Defense of Animals, and Showing Animals Respect & Kindness.
Despite passing with overwhelming support, enforcement of California Proposition 12 may yet be thwarted by Congress, through an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill introduced by Iowa fourth Congressional district Representative Steve King.
The King amendment would prevent any state from enforcing standards for farmed animal products that are stronger than those of any other.
The King amendment has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives, and may be included in the final reconciled version of the Farm Bill that is expected to be passed during the “lame duck” post-election Congressional session.
King, meanwhile, narrowly won re-election over Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten.
King, 69, has consistently opposed all animal protection legislation throughout his Congressional tenure.
“If Scholten wins, King’s reckless anti-animal welfare amendments to the Farm Bill will go away with him. We’ve done our best to mobilize HSLF supporters in this race,” the Humane Society Legislative Fund told members on Election Day morning.
Pete Sessions loses
The Humane Society Legislative Fund helped to defeat another longtime foe in the House of Representatives, Texas Republican Pete Sessions.
“As chair of the House Rules Committee, Sessions was a one-man barricade against animal welfare,” the Humane Society Legislative Fund said, “preventing bills from reaching the floor even when they enjoyed widespread support within the House itself.”
Challenger Colin Allred sent Sessions down to defeat in the Texas 32nd Congressional district, 52% to 46%.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund also endorsed winning candidates in the Texas 5th and 16th Congressional districts. Former Republican state legislator Lance Gooden took the 5th district, 63% to 37%, while Democrat Veronica Escobar won an open seat in the 16th district, 69% to 27%.
Among other bright spots for the Humane Society Legislative Fund were that Congressional Animal Protection Caucus co-chair Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat who has represented the Oregon 3rd district since 1996, won re-election with an overwhelming 73% of the vote.
Josh Gottheimer, “who earned a perfect score on the Humane Scorecard,” according to the Humane Society Legislative Fund, easily won re-election in the New Jersey 5th Congressional district, polling 55%.
Split results in Florida
In Florida, Republican Vern Buchanan won handily, polling 55% in the 16th Congressional district.
But the Humane Society Legislative Fund had also endorsed fellow Republican Carlos Curbelo, who lost in the 26th District to Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, 52% to 49%.
Picked Governor & Senator in Michigan
The Humane Society Legislative Fund picked two winners in Michigan.
Democrat Gretchen Whitmer polled 54% in the gubernatorial race, while incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat first elected in 2001, after serving four years in Congress, drew 52% support.
Democrat Joe Neguse won the Colorado 2nd Congressional District record, polling 60% of the vote against three other candidates.
Four wins in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, Republican incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick won the 8th district, with 51% of the vote.
Fellow Republican incumbent Conor Lamb won the Pennsylvania 18th district, with 56% of the vote.
Susan Wild, a Democrat, won an open seat in the Pennsylvania 7th district, claiming 54% of the vote, while Republican Guy Reschenthaler won an open seat in the Pennsylvania 14th district with 58% of the vote.
Democrat Kim Schrier won the Washington 8th Congressional District, polling 53% against Republican Dino Rossi, a former gubernatorial candidate and state legislator “who supported bills allowing the use of body-gripping animal traps, and the hunting of cougars with hounds,” the Humane Society Legislative Fund summarized.
Horses lose in Tennessee
But a bitter defeat for the Humane Society Legislative Fund came in the Tennessee race for an open U.S. Senate seat, where former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen lost to Representative Marcia Blackburn, who moves up from the House, 55% to 44%.
Blackburn’s record of support for the “Big Lick” walking horse industry in July 2018 prompted Nashville Tennessean columnist Roy Exum, a diehard Republican, to call her “the very worst in all of politics,” adding “If you think horses suffer as the acid eats into their forelegs, the ‘Dirty Lick’ dance ain’t nothing like what you’d see if Marsha got the reins of power.”
Crashed & burned in Illinois
The Humane Society Legislative Fund endorsed six-term incumbent Republican Peter Roskam in the Illinois 6th district, crediting him with having “led the charge against animal fighting.”
Roskan, however, was defeated by clean energy entrepreneur Sean Casten, 53% to 47%.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund endorsed Democrat Brendan Kelly in the Illinois 12th Congressional District, but Kelly lost to incumbent Republican Mike Bost, 52% to 45%.
California Congressional races
In California, Republican Jeff Denham held a 1% in the 10th district, with half the ballots yet to be counted, as ANIMALS 24-7 shut down for the night.
Democrat Harley Rouda held a 1% lead over Republican Dana Rohrabacher, a consistent foe of pro-animal legislation, in the 48th district. A former speechwriter and special assistant to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Rohrabacher has held a seat in Congress since 2003.
Democrat Mike Levin, running for an open seat in the 49th district, was leading 53% to 47%.
No votes had been counted in the Nevada 3rd Congressional District when ANIMALS 24-7 shut down for the night.
Democrat Steven Horsford, polling just 31% of the vote, lost to Republican Cresent Hardy in the Nevada 4th district. The Humane Society Legislative Fund described Hardy as “a former Congressman who refused to crack down on heinous animal cruelty.”