SEIU's Unprecedented Effort in 4th District
Did you see the ad on tv this weekend featuring the black and white photo of U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D) and the voiceover that says "Al Wynn's changed. Now we need a change"? If so, you weren't alone.
The Service Employees International Union, which is backing Wynn opponent Donna F. Edwards, plunked down $470,060 for the ads on Friday. That buys a lot of spots, so the ad was all over the airwaves this weekend. The union followed up with more than $126,000 in spending on the race the next day.
SEIU's Committee on Political Education and the Political Action Fund of 1199 SEIU, the union's regional group on the Eastern seaboard, have now together spent more than $550,000 on this race. Those figures will likely only rise between now and the Feb. 12 election.
To put that kind of spending in context, that represents more money than either Edwards or Wynn have raised for their own campaigns in the last four months.
Other unions are backing Wynn, including the AFL-CIO, though it has not yet mounted any kind of independent effort on his behalf. Stephanie Mueller, a spokeswoman for SEIU, said the union has decided to target the Democratic incumbent in a safe Democratic district as part of a national effort to become more politically active and convince politicians of both parties they are watching.
"Our members feel Albert Wynn has not been standing up for them," she said, adding, "We will watch candidates every day they're in office and make sure they stand up for working people."
Wynn's campaign is crying foul over the money being spent by the union and other groups in the race, suggesting they prove Edwards is a tool of a small group of individuals, many with SEIU ties, trying to buy an election.
"Voters in this district are very smart," Wynn campaign manager Lori Sherwood said Friday. "They understand there is a negative, nasty campaign being run to distort the congressman's record."
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