Working families force Arkansas runoff, boost Critz to Pa. win

Reposted from AFL-CIO blog

In a Pennsylvania special congressional election working family voters pushed hard and played a big role in electing Democrat Mark Critz over a Republican who staked a large part of his campaign on overturning health care reform.

In the Arkansas U.S. Senate Democratic primary, union-backed and progressive Attorney General Bill Halter forced two-term incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln into a runoff. Lincoln lost working family support over a track record of voting to send jobs overseas via bad trade deals. She also was backed by corporate cash and reversed her support for the Employee Free Choice Act.

But Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), who had the backing of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, lost his bid for re-election to Rep. Joe Sestak (D) in the Keystone State's Senate primary.

In the Critz victory, the working families' Get Out The Vote (GOTV) mobilization boosted the turnout for Critz. Preliminary figures show that in the 12th Congressional District, union members made some 33,000 phone calls to working family voters and knocked on 16,000 union household doors. In addition, union activists distributed 75,000 worksite fliers.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says Critz "ran a strong race fighting for the issues working families care about."

His victory demonstrates that when a candidate stands tall and proud on issues such as jobs and trade, the public will see through the lies and slime hurled by the right wing and big business.

In the Pennsylvania Senate race, Trumka says that Specter had a distinguished career fighting for working families.

I have known and worked with him for all my years in the labor movement and it is an honor and a privilege to call him a friend.

We also congratulate Congressman Sestak on his victory. He ran a strong campaign that proudly emphasized his support for the workers of Pennsylvania.

The Arkansas runoff is June 8. Halter told reporters:

We're just going to keep battling over the next 21 days to get that word out about the distinctions and the differences that we have about policy and the different direction we want to take the country.

The Arkansas union-member-to-union-member voter mobilization distributed more than 172,000 worksite fliers and made more than 30,000 volunteer phone calls to union voters. Some 200 local unions contacted their members twice by mail, and the Alliance for Retired Americans mobilized their 20,000 Arkansas members.

In a statement, the Arkansas AFL-CIO said the election results show that working families

do not want their senator to work in D.C. for the highest bidder. This was a victory for working families against Blanche Lincoln's Wall Street investors.

 

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