Sen. Blanche Lincoln helped sink the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, which would have made labor organizing much easier. Now the Democrat is headed to a primary runoff against Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, thanks in part to a massive multimillion-dollar campaign effort by the AFL-CIO and the SEIU that paid off for the unions in Tuesday’s primary.
Lincoln is seeking a third term in the U.S. Senate.
Even if Lincoln wins the primary runoff, she faces a tough fight in the general election. The labor movement, by targeting Lincoln and other imperiled Democratic incumbents who opposed the Employee Free Choice Act and health care reform, has really been showing its teeth. —PZS
Working America started eight weeks ago with six organizers. At its peak, the group sent 45 paid workers a day to knock on doors, Holmes said. In all, the group spoke to about 90,000 people in 27 towns and sent 1.75 million pieces of pro-Halter mail.
A pairing of the Service Employees International Union and the Communications Workers of America reached an additional 85,400 prospective voters who agreed to discuss the Senate campaign, said Jon Youngdahl, SEIU national political director.
SEIU, which has only 1,000 members in the state, spent more than $1.5 million, including a $1 million television buy, Youngdahl said. The national AFL-CIO spent $3 million or more on Halter’s behalf, spokesman Eddie Vale said.
Flickr / AFL-CIO (CC-BY)
Bill Halter (wearing tie) will be Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s opponent in a Democratic primary runoff for the U.S. Senate.