NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 27, 2010

At least two influential unions will spend close to $100 million on the 2010 election, with most of those funds going to protect incumbents.  Union officials told The Hill they plan to help endangered members -- particularly freshmen -- who made politically difficult votes in a year during which an anti-incumbent mood has filled the country.  The number will likely be even higher since the AFL-CIO declined to give its figures, says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME): 

  • Plans to spend in excess of $50 million during the 2010 campaign, part of which will fund "a massive incumbent protection program," according to Gerry McEntee, president of the union.
  • The $50 million slated for the 2010 elections is the largest expenditure the union will make in a midterm election, according to union officials; the money will go to help defend the union's top tier of eight Senate seats and 34 House members.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU): 

  • Plans to spend $44 million in total on its 2010 election program.
  • The union spent $85 million on its 2008 campaign, according to union officials.

A third labor group said it plans to spend big in 2010 but would not get into specific numbers.   Karen Ackerman, the AFL-CIO's political director, said that the labor federation will be active in 18 states, will campaign in gubernatorial and Senate races, and will likely have a role in 60 to 70 House races this election. 

Source: Brad Peck, "A Massive Incumbent Protection Program," U.S. Chamber of Commerce, May 24, 2010.


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