A handful of vulnerable Democratic senators running for reelection in red states are seeking to insulate themselves from political fallout if the Obama administration rejects the Keystone XL oilsands pipeline from Canada.
Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), joined 44 of their Republican colleagues in signing a letter last week urging Obama to expedite the pipeline’s approval.
Although Democrats say the controversial pipeline may not linger as an issue at the ballot box in 2014, the senators’ full-throated support for the controversial project could shield them from GOP attacks over the economic impact if construction is denied.
All five of the Democratic senators who signed the Keystone letter face difficult reelection battles in red states that Obama lost in 2012, most by double-digit margins.