#OurWater Wave Washes Across Michigan, Plays Major Role In Shape Of Michigan Election

#OurWater Wave Washes Across Michigan, Plays Major Role In Shape Of Michigan Election

Michigan voters elect ‘Clean Water Champions’ up-and-down the ticket;
demand bold action on drinking water crises

Ann Arbor, MI – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters – armed with a whopping $3.4 million investment in its massive #OurWaterOurVote campaign – helped make drinking water protection a fundamental litmus test with voters who then elected ‘clean water champions’ up-and-down the ticket.

Public opinion research by Michigan LCV showed throughout the election that “protecting drinking water from toxic contamination” was the No. 1 concern among voters.  Numerous reports from media outlets on Election Day indicated voters were citing drinking water, the Great Lakes, Line 5 and other water issues as their motivation for voting.

“Yesterday was a referendum on the state of our water, and Michiganders all over sent a clear, unmistakable message: they want drinking water protection, clean air and healthy Great Lakes to be at the forefront of lawmakers’ agenda in Lansing and Washington, D.C.,” said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of Michigan LCV.

This #OurWater Wave washed across Michigan as candidates were elected who talked about the threats to our water (lead, PFAS, oil spills) and put forth real solutions.  This included (but not limited to):

  • Gretchen Whitmer, Governor, who frequently talked about tackling the spreading PFAS crisis, Flint and Detroit water issues and shutting down the damaged Line 5 pipeline.
  • Dana Nessel, Attorney General, who regularly vowed to sue polluters, hold Enbridge Energy accountable, and even ran an entire ad focused on the PFAS crisis.
  • Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Senate, who ran a TV ad all summer long that talked passionately about her efforts to defend, protect and clean up our Great Lakes.
  • Elissa Slotkin, U.S. House, who spoke often about how our country had to take serious “environmental security” and address threats to our water the same way we tackle homeland security.  
  • Numerous Legislative Candidates: Both state House and state Senate candidates who ran, in large part, on their vow to make Lansing address water issues more directly (see below).

Michigan LCV made its largest-ever investment in a layered, aggressive #OurWaterOurVote campaign that knocked on 316,258 doors across the state, reached 574,263 voters through online advertising; sent two GOTV video text messages to 197,013 voters, and sent three pieces of mail on behalf of targeted legislative candidates to 163,128 households in 10 districts.

“Voters joined with us in saying enough is enough,” said Bob Allison, deputy director of Michigan LCV.  “We’ve all watched for too long as our water has been taken for granted, neglected by polluters, and generally treated as unimportant.  In this election, we declared that our futures and our families health is directly tied to #OurWater.”

Michigan LCV’s #OurWaterOurVote program played an instrumental role in electing 63 clean water champions to the state Legislature.  It played a major role in some of the most battleground races, including sweeping wins in Oakland, western Wayne, Kent and Kalamazoo counties.

In addition to those successes, Michigan LCV’s ballot question committee (Our Water, Our Democracy) played a fundamental role in passing two democracy reform ballot measures, investing more than $800,000.  The two initiative, Voters not Politicians and Promote the Vote, together, will ensure that legislative districts are drawn fairly and that all votes are secure and counted.   

Additionally, Michigan LCV-endorsed candidate, Megan Cavanaugh, was elected to Michigan Supreme Court.

“Virtually all major environmental issues impacting Michigan are likely to be — or have already been — the subject of litigation in the state courts,” Wozniak said. “We must elect candidates who will uphold the laws that protect Michigan’s environment in statute and the state Constitution.”

At the federal level, Michigan LCV’s partner organization — the national League of Conservation Voters — invested in candidates, Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens, both of whom handily defeated anti-environment opponents.  The LCV Victory Fund spent $355,000 on a TV ad in the closing days on behalf of Slotkin, framing Mike Bishop’s record of standing with polluters, and $110,000 on two mailers for Stevens.


Michigan LCV Digital Ads – Our WaterOil GOTVClear Choice

Examples of Legislative Candidate Ads On Water Issues

  • Winnie Brinks (SD-29) launched an ad focused on the PFAS crisis, her opponent’s inaction on the issue, and elevated her work in the state Legislature to find solutions.
  • Sean McCann (SD-20) launched a TV ad focused entirely on the PFAS issue, mentioning his Michigan LCV endorsement, and hammering his opponent for failing to act sooner.
  • A 30-second ad for Mallory McMorrow (SD-13) framing her opponent’s record on weakening protections and talking about her plans to make the issue a priority if elected.
  • A 30-second ad from Laurie Pohutsky (HD-19), a microbiologist, that ends with the powerful tagline, “… Because no one should put our Great Lakes at risk.”  
  • An online video ad from Mari Manoogian (HD-40) in Oakland County, where she talks passionately about why protecting water is one of her top priorities.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Contact: Katie Parrish, [email protected], (239) 537-9507

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