Interest Groups Gear Up for November Elections

Soft-money groups and unions are preparing to spend millions on the midterms

National Journal's Peter Stone reports that interest groups, soft-money groups and labor unions are raising millions of dollars in preparation for the 2010 elections.

The American Action Network, headed by former Sen. Norm Coleman, is trying to raise more than $25 million to fund ad campaigns in eight to 10 Senate races and 25 House races, Stone reports. And that's not all:
The network is only one of a dozen or so groups on the right and the left that are engaged in multimillion-dollar fundraising drives this campaign season with an eye to helping dozens of senators and House members who are in highly competitive contests. On the GOP side, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the newly created American Crossroads, a "527" that launched recently with the help of GOP uber-consultants Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, have indicated that they're trying to rope in at least $50 million each for their political ads and get-out-the-vote efforts in 2010.

On the Democratic side, the labor movement and other party allies are moving fast to mount equally ambitious political efforts to defend some endangered Democrats and win new seats. Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, says he expects his union and the larger AFL-CIO to which it belongs to spend close to $100 million on their political campaigns. Working America, a component of the AFL-CIO that focuses on turning out nonunion voters, is likely to spend another $25 million, he adds.

For Stone's full rundown of interest-group and labor-union preparations for November, see his story in the latest issue of National Journal.