Continuing to assume the role of one of the most politically aggressive organizations operating on the progressive side of the aisle, the AFL-CIO sent out 2.5 million pieces of campaign mail on Monday targeting Republicans in roughly 50 congressional and gubernatorial races.
Collectively, the mailers drive home the point that the current crop of GOP candidate would pursue policies that are distinctly and drastically anti-union or anti-worker. Candidates are targeting for wanting to privatize Social Security, for cuddling up to Wall Street donors, and for opposing basic worker safety requirements.
But it's some of the specific attacks -- in addition to the sheer size of the campaign -- that stick out for their directness. The AFL-CIO takes Kentucky Republican Rand Paul to task for casually dismissing the death of two Kentucky coal miners. The federation pastes harrowing footage of the 2007 Minnesota bridge collapse, to attack that state's gubernatorial candidate, Tom Emmer, for voting "against funds that may have prevented" that catastrophe. It takes on Florida Gubernatorial hopeful Rick Scott by insisting that Florida taxpayers paid for his "fraud-fueled, million-dollar fortune" and it mocks Oregon gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley for moving his residence to Washington during his NBA career to avoid paying higher taxes.
Coming on the heals of a two-million mailer campaign that the union launched last week, the latest batch underscores the extent to which the AFL-CIO has determined that brass-knuckled politics is the path to victory in a tough electoral climate. The federation, aides say, has tested the refined its mail program for months, if not years, dispatching some internal advice to avoid hard partisan attacks. Indeed, all but a handful of the mail pieces being sent out on Monday are negative in message. The result is a fairly direct appeal to the union members -- far more direct than anything offered up by either campaign committee or, for that matter, many of the candidates themselves.
In addition to 32 separate targets in House races, the AFL-CIO is going after the following Senate candidates: Delaware's Christine O'Donnell, Florida's Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Nevada's Sharron Angle, New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, Missouri's Roy Blunt, Colorado's Ken Buck, Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, Illinois's Mark Kirk, and Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey. Notably absent: Joe Miller of Alaska.
With respect to gubernatorial races, targets include Emmer, Dudley, Scott, Bob Ehrlich of Maryland, Susan Martinez of New Mexico, Bob Kasich of Ohio, Paul LePage of Maine, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a positive contrast ad for Democrat Virg Bernero of Michigan, and a similarly positive ad for Mark Dayton of Minnesota.