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Latest News - June 2012

June 19, 2012
SEIU to Focus on 8 Battleground States
Source: WSJ Blogs
By: Melanie Trottman

The Service Employees International Union said it will spend a similar amount of money to re-elect President Barack Obama as it did in 2008, but will reach out to three times as many potential voters this year with a focus on eight battleground states.

The union spent about $85 million in 2008 and “this year will look similar,” said political director Brandon Davis.

“But that’s not where our advantage is. Our advantage quite frankly is on the ground,” Mr. Davis told reporters on a conference call Tuesday afternoon.

The union plans to make 13 million phone calls, knock on more than three million doors and hold more than one million conversations with potential voters in battleground states including Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. That’s fewer states than the 14 it targeted in 2008, underscoring its strategy to deepen and expand its reach in key locations.

The union hopes to rely on 100,000 volunteers and 750 full-time campaign workers in battleground states. It plans to expand its reach in part by contacting more non-union members and sharpening its focus on registering Latinos and African-Americans, said SEIU officials.

Organized labor is facing the prospect of weakening political power and declining membership as state lawmakers cut benefits and bargaining rights of public-sector union workers. Still, unions remain one of the Democratic party’s most loyal supporters, using their funding and network of members to generate votes.

“We will have the final word when we speak up with our votes,” said Eliseo Medina, SEIU’s international secretary treasurer.

The union’s goal is to inform the public where candidates stand on issues such as job creation, taxation, immigration overhaul, Social Security and Medicare. It plans to convey that President Obama is the candidate who’s prepared to help working people.

For his part, expected GOP nominee Mitt Romney has said Mr. Obama has broken his promises to voters, demonstrating through high unemployment and declining middle-class incomes that he doesn’t have what it takes to get the economy moving again.



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