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."
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