We will likely never know why SEIU chose to invest so heavily in one candidate in one race, so we can only speculate. We suspect it had less to do with the individual personalities in the race than with making a statement about its ability to influence local elections here. SEIU likely didn't expect Aiyer to survive the first round, and was gearing up to take on Poli Acosta or another of the Republicans. That he did may have been too bad as far as SEIU was concerned, but of little consequence.
In the At-Large #2 race, SEIU had an opportunity to back an underfunded candidate for an open seat and make the difference, and that's exactly what it did. Makes for good bragging to donors and sends a message that, local roots or no roots, SEIU is here now and to be taken seriously.
I do have a suggestion for SEIU in the event they are cleared in this matter. You may have heard that there's going to be a trial in the coming months over allegations of improper use of corporate campaign contributions from the 2002 state legislative races. One of the arguments being advanced by the defense is that things like expenses for fundraising and polling fall under the allowed "administrative overhead" exception for corporate cash. The same law that governs how corporate cash can be spent also covers union money. Perhaps if the defense prevails in these cases, the SEIU might like to study what the Texas Association of Business did during that election cycle, and see how it can best emulate it. It wouldn't take much more than the $250K it spent this year to have an effect statewide as well. Just a thought.Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 17, 2005 to Election 2005 | TrackBack