By Timothy Cama - 07/06/15 12:14 PM EDT
A donor trying to push Republicans toward climate policies has given his first major donation of the 2016 election cycle to Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteJuan Williams: GOP sounds the sirens over Trump McConnell quashes Senate effort on guns Republicans blast latest Gitmo transfer MORE (R-N.H.).
The $500,000 donation to Ayotte’s super-PAC is the first major gift this cycle from North Carolina entrepreneur Jay Faison, who hopes to spend $175 million, in part through his ClearPath Foundation, to convince Republicans that climate change is real and there are conservative policies to confront it.
Faison sees Ayotte as a leader among the GOP on climate change, as well as a leader in the future of the party, and he hopes that more people like her will be elected.
Ayotte, a centrist, was one of five Senate Republicans to vote earlier this year in favor of a non-binding amendment to recognize that the climate is changing and humans are significantly contributing.
“We are looking for strong Republican leaders who are forward thinking, recognize the risk of climate change, and who believe America can accelerate it’s inevitable transition to clean energy without harming the economy,” Faison said in a statement.
His donation to Ayotte is the largest piece of his giving so far this year, which has exceeded $800,000.
The super-PAC supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) run for president got a $100,000 check, and Jeb Bush’s got $50,000. Both candidates have staked out moderate conservative positions on climate.
Faison’s also donated to GOP Reps. Robert Dold (Ill.) and Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), the GOP political committees for the House and Senate and the Senate Leadership Fund, a new super-PAC supporting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Senate Republicans.
— This story was updated at 2:02 p.m.