CAMPAIGN 2016: Clinton Not A Shoo-In For Green Groups

While licking their wounds from this week's losses, environmental groups are now looking at making a difference in future campaigns. "We're all in for 2016," said League of Conservation Voters chief Gene Karpinski yesterday.

Environmental groups spent tens of millions of dollars this election cycle and opened the door to an even beefier war chest in the future, which would come in handy in competitive races.

But potential candidates, not even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, considered the favorite Democrat to run for president, should take the environmental movement's support for granted, some green groups say.

Clinton has praised the Obama administration's efforts to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline, another top issue for environmental groups, she hasn't elaborated much since 2010, when she said she was "inclined" to approve it.

That desire by environmentalists to vet Clinton runs contrary to her strategy of sidestepping the issue, analysts say. "She doesn't want to have to state [a position] until the Democratic primary is over," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, a veteran of the McCain-Palin campaign.

But if Clinton draws a primary opponent, especially a strong contender, it would likely force her to reveal her views on a number of issues like KXL and coal.

But others countered that the midterm elections won't hurt Clinton. "That's more of a media spin," said O'Connell, the GOP strategist, noting that many candidates this year have for months been considered vulnerable.

Read more from Manuel Quiñones and Daniel Bush at E&E

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