Senate Confirms Zinke as Interior Secretary

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. (Rob Kunzig/Morning Consult)

The Senate voted 68-31 to confirm Ryan Zinke as secretary of the Department of the Interior on Wednesday, wrapping up a non-controversial confirmation process for the head of the country’s public lands.

All 51 Republicans who were present voted in favor of Zinke’s confirmation, plus 17 members of the Democratic caucus. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) did not cast a vote.

Zinke quickly garnered moderate support from some Democrats and conservationists. He staked out a middle ground by saying he is “an unapologetic admirer of Teddy Roosevelt” who is “absolutely against the transfer or sale of public lands,” while opposing the Obama administration’s environmental regulations. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, which supports the federally-funded Land and Water Conservation Fund, supported Zinke’s nomination.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted in favor of Zinke’s nomination in January, 16-6, with four members of the Democratic caucus voting for him.

In Wednesday’s final confirmation vote, Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Angus King (I-Maine) all crossed the aisle to support Zinke’s nomination.

An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated which state King represents.

Morning Consult