Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is apparently breaking with environmentalists, penning a letter to President Obama urging him to consider "economic repercussions" before issuing regulations on greenhouse gases, the Columbus Dispatch reports. The decision puts Brown, who is up for reelection in 2012, on the side of many Ohio manufacturing and farming businesses who fear the regulations will hurt the industries and may also be a forward looking move with election implications in mind.
As the Dispatch story points out, while Brown has often expressed fears that the EPA could seriously damage Ohio industry, last year he opposed an effort to prohibit the EPA from issuing greenhouse-gas rules.
In National Journal's recently released 2010 Vote Ratings, Brown finished in a tie for the most liberal senator. But if there is an issue that Brown may be inclined to move toward the middle on, it is likely the environment. Brown also opposed cap and trade legislation that passed the House in the 111th Congress.
Republicans performed very in well in Ohio during the 2010 election, and are bullish about their chances of knocking off Brown in 2012. That said, no Republican has officially come forward to challenge the incumbent and there is not an obvious potential Republican front-runner in the picture.
Lieutenant Gov. Mary Taylor and state Treasurer Josh Mandel are two Republican names being mentioned as possible challengers.