WASHINGTON -- The AFL-CIO will start investing heavily in high-profile non-presidential elections next week, sending hard-hitting mailers to 180,000 union families in six states urging them to back Democrats in their Senate and gubernatorial races.
The mailers from the labor federation will take whacks at a number of GOP candidates, including Richard Mourdock, who's running for Senate in Indiana; Sen. Scott Brown, who's facing Wall Street reform advocate Elizabeth Warren in a closely watched Massachusetts race; and Linda McMahon, who's vying for a Connecticut Senate seat.
Mike Podhorzer, the AFL-CIO's political director, said in a statement that the campaign was aimed at separating candidates who support "working families" from those who don't.
“Working families trust the information they get from their unions,” said Podhorzer. “This election we’re drawing a hard line between those who will stand up for the middle class and those who are throwing them under the bus.”
Citing his "rigid extremism," one mailer claims Mourdock would be "a disaster for Indiana workers." Another knocks Brown as "Wall Street's Senator," saying he voted "for loopholes for banks" and then "collect[ed] hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign money from bankers." Yet another accuses McMahon of "slamm[ing] her employees with layoffs, no health benefits and sexual exploitation."
The labor federation often sends mailers ahead of elections, as its internal testing shows most union members tend to take the time to read them. Because the mail is going strictly to members, the advertisements are being funded by the AFL-CIO itself, rather than its affiliated super PAC. That PAC, Workers Voice, recently launched its own mail campaign targeting Ohio for the presidential race, hammering labor's theme that GOP nominee Mitt Romney enriched himself at the expense of working people.
In addition to hitting Mourdock, Brown and McMahon, the mailers starting next week will also attack gubernatorial candidates Rob McKenna (Washington), Ovide Lamontagne (New Hampshire) and Rick Hill (Montana).
One of the Brown ads: