A labor-affiliated group is targeting 50,000 unemployed voters in Ohio, urging them in a mailer sent this week to re-elect Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland over Republican challenger John Kasich.
Kasich "was an anti-worker Congressman who outsourced jobs and then a Wall Street banker whose firm crashed the economy when it went bankrupt," says the mailer, sent by AFL-CIO community affiliate Working America to 50,000 laid-off Ohioans. "WORSE, HE VOTED TO CUT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS."
The mailer is part of Working America's broader national effort to mobilize unemployed voters on Nov. 2, which includes tele-townhalls and postcard-writing sessions. Other labor activists have speculated that victims of the current recession could be a strong Democratic swing vote in the upcoming election.
Kasich voted for NAFTA and for opening trade with China, which Working America said cost 140,000 Ohio jobs, citing the progressive Economic Policy Institute. In 1993, he voted against extending unemployment benefits. Strickland, then a member of the House, voted in favor. But Kasich left Congress in 2001 and so wasn't there during this summer's epic imbroglio over reauthorizing extended benefits for the long-term jobless. In fact, Kasich's campaign told a reporter this summer that, unlike current congressional Republicans, he actually supported keeping the extended benefits.
"John believes that it needs to be extended," the Kasich campaign told the Columbus Dispatch. "Given the current state of Ohio's economy, we're left without a lot of choices in the short term. We certainly need to fix this program, but, right now, people still need help."
Working America says the point is that the votes for "unfair trade deals" that contributed to the unemployment problem in the first place.
"People without jobs are angry and frustrated this election -- and they are desperate for good information on where the candidates stand on issues like unemployment insurance, outsourcing and investing in jobs," said Working America director Karen Nussbaum in a statement. "Fifty thousand unemployed Working America members who are likely voters can swing elections in Ohio. We're giving them the information to make the right choice."
Kasich's campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Click HERE to download a PDF of the mailer.