Who is the biggest spender for democrats in 2012 apart from the Democratic Party? It’s not a PAC. It’s not a superPAC. It’s the SEIU, which has disclosed donations of nearly $70 million to democrats this year. In addition, they have said that 300,000 members donate an average of $7 per paycheck to political activism. “The presidential election is our number one priority this year,” SEIU political director Brandon Davis said in a recent interview, giving further proof to the fact that labor and Democrats are very closely linked and rely on each other for success.
It is no secret that the SEIU strongly supports Barack Obama’s re-election. In their endorsement, they said that Obama “shares our vision of America as a land of opportunity for everyone. We need a leader willing to fight for the needs of the 99 percent, and stand with hard working families to say that the world’s wealthiest corporations must pay their fair share.” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, who says she is “fired up and ready to go,” campaigned for Obama in 19 cities in October alone. Others in the SEIU brass are doing the same, and they are motivated local workers to get out and work the ground game.
This is not just true for the presidency, but in state and local races as well. Take, for example, the race between Democrat Susan Gorin and Republican John Sawyer, who are running for the same seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in California. The SEIU is backing Gorin by providing both money and mailers to support her candidacy. The Coalition for a Better Sonoma County, primarily backed by the SEIU Local 1021, has spent close to $60,000 on the race thus far. The SEIU is also giving large donations to Amanda Trump and Stephen Slesnick for House Seats in Ohio, and SEIU’s local in Salem, Oregon has given more than $550,000 to legislative races.
In New York, they’re taking their Democratic support one sneaky step further. An SEIU-formed PAC sent out a mailer this week calling Conservative Party candidate Neil Di Carlo “a conservative we can trust” in an effort to split the vote between the Republican and Conservative Parties, clearing the way for a victory for the Democrat candidate. “This sleazy, dishonest scheme to try and elect Terry Gipson is going to outrage Hudson Valley Republicans, Democrats and independents alike,” said Scott Reif, spokesman for Senate Republicans.
The SEIU has gone all-in on electing members of the Democratic Party this November. The question is, with true grassroots momentum swelling for the conservatives, will they out-muscle the union machine?