Teachers union expands playing field for midterms

Along with a boosted independent expenditure initiative this year — spending $15 million in 2010, compared to $1.6 million in 2006 — the NEA is operating a “layered approach,” according to White, when contacting its union members. Each member will likely receive a phone call and a piece of mail, as well as have a personal discussion with another union member reminding him or her to vote in the upcoming elections.

“It is the most efficient and data-driven program we have ever done,” White said.

Overall, NEA members will have received more than 5 million pieces of mail and nearly 1.6 million phone calls by Election Day.

White called the NEA’s membership “the largest collection of middle-class voters in the country”; they are likely to vote at a 30 percent rate higher than the general public.

Though the teachers union is skewed toward Democrats in its endorsements, it has backed some Republicans this election. White mentioned Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who's mounting a write-in bid after having lost her party’s primary, as well as Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), among others.

“We support anyone who supports public education. We are bipartisan,” White said. “We wanted to make sure we are putting people in Congress and in governors' seats who will do the best for students.”