DENVER — Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is poised to become a prime beneficiary of liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s pledge to spend $100 million to promote the climate-change issue in the 2014 election.
Steyer, a former hedge-fund manager, is hosting an A-list fundraiser Wednesday for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at his home in San Francisco, and Udall is on the list of bigwigs scheduled to attend, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.
Steyer and Udall could be a match made in global-warming heaven. Steyer’s PAC, NextGen Climate Action, strongly opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, and Udall was one of 20 Senate Democrats who voted against a non-binding resolution last year in favor of the pipeline.
“Fighting climate change is a bedrock issue to me. It was a cornerstone for me in 2008, and I’m not going to shy away from it in 2014,” Udall said in a December fundraising letter posted on the left-wing Daily Kos website.
Udall faces an increasingly difficult reelection battle in November thanks in large part to his support for Obamacare, which is opposed by a solid 60 percent of Coloradans, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll.
News of Udall’s inclusion on the guest list at Steyer’s fundraiser prompted a few choice observations Tuesday on social media from Colorado conservatives.
“SF Billionaire climate alarmist to host fundraiser for @MarkUdall & others. Will tell them how to oppose #keystone,” said Amy Oliver Cooke, director of the Energy Policy Center at the Independence Institute.
And: “Radical chic @MarkUdall has audience with top climate cultist in San-Fran tomorrow,” said Americans for Prosperity-Colorado on Twitter.
Dustin Zvonek, state director for Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, said the meeting would betray a radical side of Udall that is out of step with the state’s economic interest and mainstream values.
The organization called on Udall to skip the meeting as a show of unity with Colorado’s energy workers and companies, which Zvonek said would be the likely casualties if Steyer’s personal climate crusade against traditional energy succeeded.
“It’s shocking to us that Senator Udall would be flying all the way out to California just to huddle with the leading financier of the climate cult and a leading saboteur of the Keystone pipeline project, at a time when Colorado energy workers and companies live every day under the threat of attack from federal regulators and professional green extremists,” Zvonek said.
Other top Democrats invited to the Steyer fundraiser include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. Udall was one of three Democrats facing reelection listed on the invitation, along with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, according to the Washington Post.
It is not known whether Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who is chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, will attend his organization’s fundraiser. Bennet has voted to support to Keystone pipeline.