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Liberal group on air against Gerlach, Kuhl

A liberal advocacy group is launching a series of radio ads against two House Republicans in competitive districts, highlighting their votes last week against a pro-labor bill.

Americans United for Change, which started two years ago as a non-profit designed to thwart President Bush's proposal to reform Social Security, is going on the radio against Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) and Randy Kuhl (D-N.Y.), both of whom survived the electoral tides in 2006 against Republicans.

Kuhl, who won by just 6,000 votes, and Gerlach, who won by 3,000 votes, are already top targets for Democrats as they eye the 2008 landscape of GOP-held seats in areas tilting toward Democratic candidates in general.

This ad campaign by Americans United, which by law must not be coordinated with House Democrats, is the latest sign of what amounts to the permanent campaign for people like Gerlach and Kuhl. Only about $60,000 worth of ads were put up against Gerlach and Kuhl, but they are significant because the come so early in the campaign cycle.

And in competitive district like these, outside groups are now spending almost as much as the candidates themselves -- mostly on negative campaign commercials.

In Gerlach's 6th District of Pennsylvania, which wraps around the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia, the Democratic and Republican campaign committees spent a combined $6.9 million in so-called independent expenditures.[;jsessionid=2712426689D7F0F67073C48515372915?tag=Independent+Expenditures]

Throw in another $300,00 or so in ads from outside groups similar to Americans United, and groups not directly affiliated with Gerlach and his opponent, Lois Murphy (D), spent more than $7.3 million in that race - almost as much as the $7.5 million the two candidates spent combined.

To listen to the new ads, click here:

"We're going to be spending a lot of energy educating the folks in their districts how their Congressmen turned their backs on middle class American workers last week," said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Americans United for Change.

The bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, would make it easier for labor groups to organize -- something Republicans contended was a Democratic pay-off to Big Labor for their vociferous support in the 2006 elections, and Republican critics noted that there were not assurances of secret ballot processes in organizing votes.

The bill passed the House 241-185, with 13 Republicans joining Democrats. Interestingly, a dozen of those Republicans hailed from districts in the Northeast and Midwest, similarly situated to those held by Gerlach and Kuhl.

By Paul Kane  |  March 9, 2007; 4:30 PM ET
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You mention that Rep. Randy Kuhl is a Democrat, but he is Republican.

Posted by: Dhwani | March 10, 2007 1:19 AM | Report abuse

The unemployment rate dropped to a low 4.5% in February. Analysis of the state unemployment figures show red states performing well above blue states.

In January, blue states averaged 4.56% unemployment while red states averaged 4.15%. Half of the blue states have rates above 4.5%, while two-thirds of the red states are at or below 4.5%. Ten of the eleven states with the lowest unemployment are red.

Over the past year, unemployment decreased in 36 states (72% red) and increased in 10 states and DC (73% blue). Blue states averaged a 1.6% decline, while red states averaged an 8.3% decline. The nine states with the largest decline were all red, while eight of the top nine states with the largest increase were blue.

The numbers highlight Republicans are better at managing the economy than Democrats. Maybe Democrats should reconsider their platform of raising taxes, empowering unions, and increasing illegal immigration?

This is why I

Posted by: VA Patriot | March 10, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

You vote Republican because you're a fool who would support any position( war with Iran) however foolish and sociopathic. Don't worry though, the neocon agenda will bring about the destruction of the planet, and you can be with Jesus.

Posted by: Dee Jay | March 10, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

how do you account for "red" states that are managed by Democrats and "blue" states managed by Republicans? North Carolina is red, and has low unemployement. Yet, Democrats control every branch of the state government, and have for a while. Did you include that in your "analysis", Mr. "Patriot"?

Posted by: will c | March 12, 2007 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps someone can explain why openly voting for or against a union, versus private balloting as we do in all other elections, is supposed to be fairer?
Why is it union bosses want to force voters to "show" the vote on their ballots? Why is it voting in a private booth is not fair?
I support union activities, but I will never support forcing people to openly vote. Such actions only lead to coercion & intimidation in elections.
Its easy to win when you can browbeat people into agreeing with you!
Any agenda that takes away the freedom of choice for elections, is unacceptable, in fact, its despotism.

Posted by: Rubicon | March 12, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I definitely agree with Rubicon. I am a moderate voter who has voted for both parties. Actually, I tend to vote against more than for. Lately, I have been angrier at the Republicans. However, this measure sums up many of my misgivings about the Democrats. Doing away with a secret ballot is inherently un-Democratic.

Posted by: JimD in FL | March 12, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

One should keep in mind that low paying jobs are more plentiful in "red" states than in "blue" states because of the anti-union, right-to-work laws that exist in red states. Since non-union red-state jobs pay lower wages... businesses are less likely to leave those states immediately for China, Indonesia, Korea, etc. where they can obtain "slave" wages. This situation also attracts foreign businesses to those red states, i.e. Toyota, that has major markets in this country. This difference could be expected to produce a slight increase in the unemployment rate in blue states where some unions still exist. However, even those low-wage red states will also lose those jobs just as soon as businesses there discover they can pay workers much lower wages in underdeveloped nations. US businesses have no loyalty to this country despite what red state Republicans tell you. They will sell out the "red state" workers just as soon as the right offer comes along overseas. The "dummies" in the red states will find this out the hard way.

Posted by: David L Bayliss | March 12, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

For shame on all this name calling by the left. Just like a bunch of First Graders.
Not nice! But what else can you expect from the party of Kennedy, Clinton and Bill Mahar (sp?)

paul harrington

Hesperia, Calif

Posted by: paul harrington | March 12, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Um, yeah, you should fix the part about Kuhl being a Democrat.

Posted by: Ryan | March 12, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

"For shame on all this name calling by the left. Just like a bunch of First Graders."

How can someone be so dense that they don't see the glaring hypocrisy in that statement? "For shame on" the name callers, harrington is obviously oblivious to the fact that he is one.

Posted by: patrick | March 13, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Libs usually are angrier, and much fuglier, then Republicans. Drive by one with their Kerry/Edwards sticker on their car, they have a dumpy body like Michael Moore and a scowl like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Posted by: HILLARYisASHEMALE | March 13, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

For Heaven Sakes, please don't blame a
Randy Kuhl on us. We Democrats have
enough fools in Congress without adding that "dumber than a stump" congressman to our side of the ledger. We would like to
remove him from the 29th Congressional District of N.Y. State and retire him permanently.

Posted by: ruth s. young | March 13, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

To Paul Harrington

Yeah, how terrible.

Democrats are namecallers?

That's really funny.

The vice president and Bush's pals, the Christian and economic rightwingers, and the entire Fox netowrk spend most of their time namecalling Democrats, and even badmouthing Democrats who are combat vets and dare run for office - especially the chickenhawks who had "other priorities".

Posted by: Anonymous | March 14, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Demotax is the party of the union,What do
you expect.I,have just one question,What is
the unemployment rate in the US?

Posted by: Bern49 | March 15, 2007 5:13 AM | Report abuse

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