Legendary outdoor goods brand Patagonia has long been a favorite of the crunchy set, but it’s to stay out of partisan politics. Now, for the first time, the company has endorsed two political candidates in the Senate races in Nevada and Montana. Unsurprisingly, Patagonia digs Democrats.
In a statement published on its website, the Reno, Nevada-based company said that it was endorsing Jacky Rosen in Nevada and Jon Tester in Montana in a bid to protect natural resources. ”The company is endorsing candidates for the first time this year because of the urgent and unprecedented threats to our public lands and waters,” Patagonia said, adding that this was not a decision motivated by partisanship. “In fact, it’s the opposite,” the statement declares, “it’s about standing up for the millions of Americans who want to see wild places protected for future generations.”
Rose Marcario, the company’s CEO, said the company is supporting Democratic candidate Rosen “because she will fight to protect Nevada’s public lands and the vibrant outdoor industry that depends on them.” Along the same lines, Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard said the company supports Tester, a current Montana senator who is up for reelection, “because he gives a damn about protecting public lands—and, like US, he’s committed to fight back against anyone who doesn’t.” Chouinard struck more of a partisan tone than Marcario, saying that Tester “goes to work every day for the 95 percent of Montanans who believe recreation on public lands is a priority, unlike Republicans in Congress who only serve the fossil fuel industry.”
Patagonia has a long history of supporting action to protect natural resources dating back to the 1980s, and has founded grassroots efforts to grant protection of natural reserves. Since 2004, it has recommended voting “with the planet in mind,” and chose these two candidates to endorse specifically for their environmental plans.
The company has openly criticized US president Donald Trump’s environmental policies in the past and made a push for voter participation. As one of the over 150 companies part of the Time to Vote campaign, it announced on Sept. 24 that it would give its employees a day off to go vote in the midterms on Nov. 6 and close its stores on election day.
“The response from our community has been overwhelmingly positive,” Patagonia told Quartz of its foray into political endorsements. Quartz has also reached out to Rosen and Tester for comment, and will update this story with any response.