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Sierra Club backs Dem in NH Senate race

Sierra Club backs Dem in NH Senate race
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The Sierra Club is supporting Democratic New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan in her bid for the Senate.

The endorsement of the nation’s largest environmental advocacy group came Wednesday despite numerous green positions taken by incumbent Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteOvernight Defense: NATO expanding troops in Iraq Overnight Defense: New START extended for five years | Austin orders 'stand down' to tackle extremism | Panel recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal Study group recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (R), such as backing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

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“As governor and state senator, Hassan has been a strong advocate, pushing to cut greenhouse gases, safeguard New Hampshire’s drinking water, and protect its public lands,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement

“Gov. Hassan has consistently fought to protect the Granite State, and the Sierra Club looks forward to working with her in the Senate.”

The group cited legislation and initiatives Hassan backed as a state lawmaker and governor to bolster her green credentials, such as bills to join New Hampshire into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and to create a renewable energy standard for utilities.

“In the Senate, I will work to build on the progress we’ve made in New Hampshire, including working to expand the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, set strong goals for clean energy, and finally end taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuel companies,” Hassan said in the Sierra Club statement.

The New Hampshire race is one of the closest Senate elections this year, one that Democrats and their allies see as a seat likely to flip from the GOP. That could help Democrats take the Senate majority, providing an important firewall against Republican attempts to undo major environmental policies.

Polling for the race has shown the candidates neck and neck. The most recent poll, released last month by WMUR and the University of New Hampshire, showed Hassan ahead 45 percent to 42 percent among likely voters.

Ayotte, for her part, has presented herself as a moderate in numerous policy areas, including climate and clean energy.

She’s earned the endorsement of the conservative clean energy group ClearPath Action Fund.

In addition, the Environmental Defense Fund last year ran a five-figure online campaign thanking her for her support of the Clean Power Plan.