February 11, 2006
Daily Ciro update

The support for Ciro Rodriguez keeps coming in. First, from organized labor:

Add steelworkers to the list of unions gunning for U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar.

"He is our No. 1 primary target in the United States," said Chuck Rocha, national political director of the United Steelworkers of America.


United Steelworkers has been the loudest union seeking to bring down the first-term congressman. But it's got plenty of company among unions that assail what they consider Cuellar's Republican leanings.

Rocha said labor has put together "a comprehensive plan" to unseat Cuellar and return Ciro Rodriguez , whom Cuellar narrowly defeated two years ago, to Congress.

"Every affiliate of the AFL-CIO is involved in this race — every international is doing what it can to help," said Alicia Garza, president of the San Antonio AFL-CIO Central Labor Council. "This race has gotten national attention, so we have internationals who have sent people here to help."


[Labor activists are] targeting District 28's 10,000 union members. Rocha said the number rises to 18,000 after adding in spouses and voting-age children. The biggest chunk — possibly three-quarters — live in the San Antonio area.

That doesn't include members of the Teamsters, Service Employees International Union and other labor organizations that broke away from the AFL-CIO last year.

The steelworkers union is spending money on direct-mail pieces and a phone bank. Also, its national field director is temporarily moving to San Antonio to prepare for the primary.


As he has so far this campaign season, Rodriguez won a slew of union endorsements in 2004. But unions threw far fewer resources into the battle then. Garza said the national AFL-CIO sent only one organizer to work full time on the race and the number of volunteers was lower.

"It goes way beyond what happened in 2004," said Oscar Sanchez, Rodriguez's campaign manager. "One of the things that's different is the people power — the troops."

As I said before, this is going to come down to Bexar County turnout and support for Rodriguez. It's true, as a commenter said in that last post, that there are also contested races in Webb County that will help drive turnout there, but how in the world can you improve on 2004's effort for Cuellar? Bexar is the biggest part of this district, and there's plenty of room to grow there for Rodriguez. Cuellar will need to get a higher percentage of the vote there (the split was about 80-20 for Ciro last time) to offset Rodriguez's turnout effort.

On the money side, Rodriguez has now gotten the support of Democracy for America, and his ActBlue total is over $96K. I'm not sure if that includes DfA fundraising - the verbiage at ActBlue is " 2187 individuals from ActBlue, the netroots, and Democracy for America have contributed $96232.86 to Ciro Rodriguez", but I don't see a link from DfA to ActBlue or a link on ActBlue for DfA. Regardless, that's a pretty amazing amount to get in, what, ten days? And there's still 23 days to go, so you can still help.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 11, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Another thing to keep in mind is that as much as seniors in Laredo like having a local boy as a congressman, they care even more about Social Security, prescription drugs and Medicare. And seniors across the nation are getting worried. As my old firm, Greenberg Research, points out, "Democrats now have the opportunity to raise opposition to the drug benefit to new heights and use the plan as a powerful symbol of Republican corruption and irresponsibility. Coupled with attacks over budget cuts to Medicare, an assault on the prescription drug program could cause serious damage to the GOP, especially among seniors." As one who voted with the Republicans on the issues that matter most to seniors, Cuellar may well be the first casualty of the voter revolt Stan Greenberg and James Carville are anticipating. Seniors in Laredo will abandon Cuellar as soon as they learn that Cuellar got them into this mess.

Posted by: Andre Pineda on February 11, 2006 5:04 PM

Anybody seen the polls recently? Last I saw was Cuellar 45, Ciro 30. Ciro will have a better shot at winning in a two person runoff, so Cuellar needs to win the primary outright. Unions are a major untapped resource in San Antonio. If the hotel service industry workers are unionized, they could be a major force in SA politics. Hotel workers are perfect to unionize...the hotels can't threaten to pull up stakes and leave if a union forms, and the workers are just the kind that need union support an organization. SA hotel workers need to look to the Las Vegas hotel/casino employees as an example of the benefits of unionization.

Posted by: Chito on February 13, 2006 11:32 AM