Bill Conner is the Democratic candidate campaigning to replace Republican incumbent Steve Austria in Ohio’s 7th congressional district. We’re told by the Democratic Party leadership that they’re fighting hard to maintain their majority in Congress, but when it comes to Conner’s campaign, there doesn’t seem to be much effort at all. According to the Federal Election Commission, the Conner for Congress campaign has only taken in $1,846 in contributions so far. Compare that to the $294,002 in individual contributions, and $305,652 in PAC contributions accepted by Congressman Austria in this election cycle.
Why, if Democrats are truly fighting hard against Republican congressional campaigns, has there been such a lack of support for Conner’s campaign? Much of the answer seems to come from Conner himself.
Bill Conner campaigns on some of the liberal principles that motivate part of the Democratic Party’s electoral base, but on many issues, Conner is as likely to disappoint Democratic voters as to encourage them. The environment is just such an issue.
Conner says that he wants to “promote green energy”, but spends at least as much time promoting old fossil fuel technologies. Conner contends that burning coal can be “environmentally safe”, failing to address recent studies that have found coal ash sludge to be an extremely toxic by-product. There still is no real “clean coal” operation that’s commercially viable.
Conner also supports increased drilling for oil, in spite of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and many on-land oil spills within the United States over the last year. “To produce independence in the short term, we will need to increase domestic oil production,” Conner writes.
Most Democrats are strong and sincere supporters of environmental action. 7th district Democrats may be discontent with Congressman Austria’s opposition to green energy policies, but as they look at Bill Conner’s embrace of energy industry arguments defending old fossil fuel technologies, they aren’t likely to see enough reason to donate their money to support the Conner for Congress campaign.