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Midterm Losses Among Moderate Republicans Endanger Climate Solutions Caucus

Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo (District 26) delivers his concession speech after losing a tightly contested race to Democratic challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
Kate Stein
/
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Midterm losses among moderate Florida Republicans have raised questions about the future of a climate caucus founded by two of the state's U.S. Congressmen.

The Climate Solutions Caucus created by representatives Ted Deutch (D-22) and Carlos Curbelo (R-26) is supposed to have one Republican for each Democrat.

But more than a third of the caucus' 45 Republican members will be out next year, defeated by Democrats in the midterms or headed into retirement.

Among the ousted: caucus co-founder Curbelo, a moderate who lost his bid to continue representing Monroe County and parts of Miami-Dade.

Some environmentalists say the losses could be a blessing in disguise: they’ve been unhappy with some caucus Republicans who in July voted to denounce a carbon tax.

They also question the caucus' efficacy: thus far, no climate-related bills proposed by caucus members have been passed into law.

But analysts say there’s no guarantee newly elected Democrats will focus on climate. And they say newly elected House Republicans are likely to be farther to the right -- less likely to promote climate change action -- than the moderate Republicans who held many of the caucus seats.

In an interview on election night with the environment and energy publication E&E News, Deutch declined to comment on the caucus’ future or who will take over for Curbelo as co-chair.

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Kate Stein can't quite explain what attracts her to South Florida. It's more than just the warm weather (although this Wisconsin native and Northwestern University graduate definitely appreciates the South Florida sunshine). It has a lot to do with being able to travel from the Everglades to Little Havana to Brickell without turning off 8th Street. It's also related to Stein's fantastic coworkers, whom she first got to know during a winter 2016 internship.Officially, Stein is WLRN's environment, data and transportation journalist. Privately, she uses her job as an excuse to rove around South Florida searching for stories à la Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan. Regardless, Stein speaks Spanish and is always thrilled to run, explore and read.