Wednesday, August 14, 2013

AFL-CIO Targets GOP Govs: Susana Not Among Them

Gov. Susana Martinez apparently doesn't have to fear the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations pumping big cash bucks into New Mexico to try to unseat her next year.

But is this a major blow to the Democratic ticket in New Mexico? Probably not. The Dems may be facing an uphill battle here to recapture the Fourth Floor, but the news that Martinez isn't among the labor group's targeted governors isn't that earth-shattering for them.

At a news conference Tuesday, Michael Podhorzer, political director of the AFL-CIO told reporters that his organization will focus on state races in 2014 because Congress is so entangled in gridlock, state government is "the area that is going to be most consequential for people's lives." According to the report in USA Today:

Podhorzer singled out six Republican governors the unions are likely to focus on: Scott Walker of Wisconsin; John Kasich in Ohio; Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania; Michigan's Rick Snyder; Maine's Paul LePage and Rick Scott of Florida. All of the governors have had battles with unions in their states, most notably Walker, who survived a recall vote after pushing though legislation to curtail bargaining rights of public employee unions.

USA Today noted that the governors mentioned are in states with a strong union presence.

In 2010, in which the governor's race here was very competitive, Democrat Diane Denish received more than a million dollars from labor unions, which was more than 17 percent of her support.

However, according to the National Institute on Money in State Government, the AFL-CIO was not a contributor. Public sector unions were the main source of Denish's labor money, more than a third of those comes coming from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The national AFL-CIO did spend $27,750 in New Mexico that election cycle. $8,000 went to the state Democratic Party.

The  AFL-CIO wasn't a major player in Bill Richardson's gubernatorial races either. In 2006 the organization gave Richardson $5,000, while in 2002, they only gave him $1,000. Of course, both those elections were easy sprints for Richardson.

The only two announced 2014 Democratic candidates so far are Attorney General Gary King and state Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque.