Labor's Ground Game Isn't Stingy

In part of a coordinated labor effort to increase support for Democrats in union-dense congressional districts this election season, union members have distributed 17.5 million pamphlets at more than 4,000 work sites and made more than 23 million phone calls, and volunteers have knocked on more than 1.3 doors, according to data from the AFL-CIO.

In a memo to union political directors, AFL-CIO political chief Karen Ackerman predicts a better night for Democrats than prognosticators predict, although she acknowledges that "there will be losses."

"Despite the challenges we face, we are turning working people's anger into action and fighting for economic patriots who will stand with working people," Ackerman writes. "Our grassroots program is going to make the difference, race by race, to hold majorities that work for working families."     

According to Ackerman, labor's tilt toward Democrats has become more pronounced since unions began their program, increasing by double digits the percentage who favor the Democratic candidate in their district since June.

Ackerman notes that there are four Republican held-seats where Democrats have a chance to win, meaning that Republicans would need to net a total of 59 percent of the remaining 75 or so competitive seats to win. Like others, she sees Dave Reichert's seat in King Co., Washington as competitive, giving Democrats a potential fifth pick-up. Of the 75 battleground seats, 37 have more than 40,000 union members, including, says Ackerman:

Our Members Are Where the Races Are
      • HI-01 - 86,949 union voters
      • IL-14 - 60,328 union voters
      • NY-24 - 96,479 union voters
      • NV-03 - 80,075 union voters
      • OH-13 - 94,938 union voters
      • PA-03 - 64,526 union voters
      • PA-12 - 104,721 union voters
      • PA-11 - 75,246 union voters

Ackerman notes that early voting trends in Iowa and Ohio seem to be favoring Democrats so far, and Nevada's early voting will benefit from unions shuttling members to and from their casinos beginning Monday.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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