AFL-CIO Budgets $53 Million for '08
Looking past the battle for the Democratic nomination, the AFL-CIO announced plans Friday for the biggest campaign mobilization of union workers in its history, committing $53 million to an effort aimed at electing a Democratic president and expanding Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.
"Our members are building an army to make more calls, knock on more doors and turn out more voters than ever," Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said in a statement. "We're going for the trifecta: the House, the Senate, and the White House."
In addition to its focus on the White House, the union federation will target 23 priority states, including traditional presidential battlegrounds of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Karen Ackerman, the AFL-CIO political director, noted in the federation's release that organized labor is determined to help the Democratic nominee carry Ohio, whose outcome proved decisive in President Bush's 2004 reelection victory.
By concentrating on districts with heavy concentrations of union workers and families, the AFL-CIO effort aims to enlarge the Democrats' Senate majority by three to six seats, while hoping to increase the party's House majority by five seats.
The federation has not endorsed any of the Democratic presidential candidates, as none commands enough support within organized labor to gain the two-thirds vote needed for an endorsement. Individual unions, however, have begun to take sides in the nomination contest.
-- Dan Balz
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