Green Republican sees party 'evolving' on clean energy

Green Republican sees party 'evolving' on clean energy

Republicans are increasingly “evolving” on climate change and green energy issues, the founder of a GOP-supporting clean energy super-PAC said Tuesday.

ClearPath Action Founder and CEO Jay Faison said his group is looking this fall to support Republicans who are going in the “right direction” on energy issues, including supporting energy sources like nuclear and technologies like carbon capture for fossil fuel power plants. 

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Republicans are slowly moving toward supporting the clean energy sector, he said, even if climate change isn’t a major concern for them or their base.

“I think a lot of these issues are evolving, the electorate is evolving and the candidates are evolving,” he told reporters at the group’s new Capitol Hill office on Tuesday. 

“There’s varying degrees of that equation on different candidates we’re [supporting].”

ClearPath launched a super-PAC earlier this year with the goal of spending $5 million on this fall's elections. The group is backing 12 Republicans so far, including those both openly moderate on climate issues — such as Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (R-N.H.) and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) — and those for whom the issue is a secondary concern. 

Faison said he hopes to eventually rally Republicans around the cause of clean energy, but he acknowledged it’s not one many of them care about right now.  

A big booster of nuclear power, Faison will testify before a Senate committee on Wednesday about the industry. He also supports carbon capture technology and has been skeptical about the potential for mass deployment of traditional renewable sources like wind and solar. 

He said he’s met with 65 Republican lawmakers this year to make his case.

“I’ve found a lot to agree on, and at least something to agree on in every office I’ve been at,” he said. 

Republicans have welcomed his group’s spending, too.  

“They love us,” he said. “I get a lot of thank yous. If you spend millions of dollars for Republicans, you get a lot of thanks yous. It’s not hard to gain popularity when you’re supporting the party.”