By Kevin Bogardus - 09/24/12 10:00 AM EDT
The AFL-CIO is revving up its campaign operations this week, looking to play a role in a key swing state as well as a closely watched Senate race.
The nation’s largest labor federation has launched a direct-mail campaign against Republican White House nominee Mitt Romney in the presidential battleground of Ohio, with more mail pieces set to drop this week. That effort comes as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka journeys to Massachusetts on Monday to campaign with several Democratic congressional candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-Mass.) opponent.
The AFL-CIO has already sent direct mail to 100,000 union households in Ohio that targeted Romney’s record at private-equity firm Bain Capital. That is being followed this week with another direct-mail piece — under the title “Special message from your union” — to those same households going after Romney’s time at Bain.
“It seems many people were unaware that Romney made hundreds of millions of dollars bankrupting companies, laying off workers and devastating local communities. Your Union wanted to share what people just like you had to say about Romney’s ‘destructive capitalism,' ” the direct-mail piece says, then quotes workers criticizing the GOP candidate.
This first round of direct mail is going to AFL-CIO members, but the effort will expand to non-union members through the labor federation’s super-PAC, Workers’ Voice, according to an AFL-CIO official.
There will also be canvassing at worksites in Ohio and AFL-CIO members protesting at Romney’s campaign stops during the GOP candidate’s bus tour in the state.
The AFL-CIO is also weighing in on congressional races and Trumka will be in Dorchester, Mass., on Monday for a campaign rally with Democrats, including Warren, Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), Rep. John Tierney (Mass.) and Joe Kennedy III, who is running for retiring Rep. Barney Frank’s (Mass.) seat.
Trumka is expected to speak at the event and will take aim at union members who might be reluctant to vote for Warren because of sexism.
“We have a problem because some voters — and let me be perfectly honest … I’m talking about voters who look just like me — have not stood up beside Elizabeth Warren to support her,” Trumka will say, according to prepared remarks. “There may be dozens of reasons for us to vote for her, but it’s crazy not to vote for her because she’s a woman … or because she’s a college professor … or for any other superficial reason.”
Trumka is also expected to blast Scott Brown, saying Washington has changed the former Massachusetts state senator.
“Let me be perfectly frank with you — the Scott Brown you know is not the Scott Brown who’s serving in Washington today. The new Scott Brown votes every time with the 1 percent and the Tea Party,” Trumka will say.
The AFL-CIO is feeling confident about Warren’s chances in the Senate race. An internal AFL-CIO poll has Warren leading Brown, 49 percent to 46, among the general public.
Several recent polls have shown Warren in the lead, though one taken last week had Brown ahead of the Democrat.