Ohio is both a decisive swing state and a traditional union stronghold, and unions are making the most of that,
expanding their ground game
(which was already strong) in the state, the Washington Post
Best known for opening a new spigot of anonymous corporate giving in elections, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision in 2010 also allowed labor unions to use their general treasury cash, including dues, to reach out to all voters, not just union members. In Ohio, the list of potential voters whom the AFL-CIO will reach out to in the last month before the election has nearly doubled, from 1.2 million in 2008 to 2 million this year.
The AFL-CIO opposes Citizens United
, but that doesn't mean it and other unions will unilaterally disarm. And that 2 million potential voters the AFL-CIO will reach out to is not the sum total of union election work in Ohio this cycle. The AFL-CIO includes many unions, large and small, as well as the community affiliate Working America, and it's prioritizing outreach to the general public. But it doesn't include the SEIU, NEA, Teamsters, or UFCW, all of which are likely mounting their own Ohio campaigns (and not just on the ground; for instance, this week the SEIU began airing an ad
against Rep. Jim Renacci, who's being challenged by Orange to Blue candidate Betty Sutton
Unions are building on the massive winning fight they waged against Issue 2, the state bill attacking collective bargaining rights for public workers. Republicans point to a similar winning margin for a non-binding vote against health insurance mandates as a sign that the 2011 Ohio vote will come down in their favor. But that measure was not seriously contested as Issue 2 was; tea party groups pushed it without much pushback from progressives. Issue 2 built outreach lists and helped forge stronger relationships with voters.
Handed the lemons of Citizens United and Issue 2, in other words, unions are making a ton of lemonade in Ohio. Which, come Nov. 6, we can all spike with the liquor of our choice and raise a glass to President Obama's reelection, along with those of great senators like Sherrod Brown and representatives like Betty Sutton.
Click here sign up to help turn out Democratic voters in swing states with our partners at Workers' Voice, a new project from the AFL-CIO. They have a great voter turnout program called RePurpose that lets you take part in the crucial effort to get swing state Democrats to the polls, no matter where you live. You can make phone calls, knock on doors, or even just share content online.
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