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SEIU fallout

Both Kristin Mack and Houtopia write about the City Council At Large #2 race and its future implications. Says Houtopia:

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.

Both note that losing candidate Jay Aiyer filed an ethics complaint against Lovell and SEIU for these expenditures, claiming that it wasn’t coordinated. I rather doubt much will come of that, for I don’t think the city’s enforcement of campaign regulations is all that much more robust that the Texas Ethics Commission’s, but we’ll know more soon.

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.

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One Comment

  1. Marie says:

    You know… I’ve really had enough of the pissing & moaning about Jay Aiyer’s loss to Sue Lovell. Jay lost not because of SEIU but for a few reasons:
    1) Jay Aiyer … who? He’s not a community guy or a well known businessman or lawyer. Only the “inside the loop” political types know who the guy is, and only half of them supported him or even like him.
    2) No ground game. How the hell do you expect people to vote for you if they don’t know who you are? Why would you not at the very least blockwalk the precincts with the highest voter turnout in the city?
    3) Jay Aiyer has not paid his political dues. He may have been a Lee P. staffer and have had some heavyweights in his corner, but why should we believe anything anyone says if Jay hasn’t proven his commitment to the community? How many Habitat houses has he help build? How many hours has he put in at the Food Bank? How many high school drop-outs has he counseled and encouraged to return to school?
    Forget SEIU – what they did or didn’t do for the Sue Lovell campaign is irrelevant. Jay’s got some work to do in the community before he earns anyone’s vote.