| October 20, 2006 Volume 107 Number 20
Unions help Hooley, others in re-election bidCongressional races are part of the overall campaign of union members as they pound the pavement in Oregon encouraging colleagues, allies and working families to get their ballots in before 8 p.m. on Nov. 7.
Republicans now control the U.S. House by a 230-201 edge over the Democrats, with one independent and three vacancies.
Only one congressional race in Oregon is actually being targeted by the AFL-CIO — that of Democrat Darlene Hooley in the Fifth District. She is facing a challenge from a wealthy businessman with no prior political experience. Republican Mike Erickson has been spending a lot of his own money to run a negative campaign against Hooley. He is also getting help from the California Republican Party and the Economic Freedom Fund, which have spent more than $165,000 on TV ads slamming Hooley. The primary funder of the Freedom Fund is the same person who paid for the Swift Boat ads that attacked Sen. John Kerry when he ran for president.
Unions are supporting Hooley because of her stellar voting record on legislation supporting workers. According to the national AFL-CIO, the five-term congresswoman has a lifetime Committee on Political Education (COPE) voting record of 93 percent.
In the 109th Congress, the AFL-CIO’s interim COPE scorecard tracked 24 bills and/or amendments to bills that were voted on before Congress recessed on Aug. 4. There, she cast just one “wrong” vote.
Speaking at the 52nd annual International Foundation Employee Benefits Conference in Las Vegas on Oct. 8, Dr. Larry Sabato, founder and director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. predicted Democrats would win control of the U.S. House. He didn’t see any political upsets in Oregon.
Likely to return to the U.S. House are AFL-CIO-endorsed Democrats David Wu in the First District, Earl Blumenauer in the Third District; Peter DeFazio in the Fourth District and Hooley.
Republican Greg Walden is also favored to win re-election in the Second District. He has support from the Oregon State Building Trades Council and Teamsters Joint Council 37.
But the Oregon AFL-CIO and other union locals and councils have endorsed his Democratic opponent, Carol Voisin. According the national AFL-CIO, Walden votes with President Bush about 90 percent of the time.
Voisin points to Walden’s support of “cuts to rural health care, education, college loans, veterans benefits. Votes against extra pay for our soldiers, against improving fuel standards on cars, and against investigations of wasteful spending” as reasons why he should be replaced.
David Wu’s Republican challenger Derrick Kitts was admonished by Oregon Council 75 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees for listing the council as a supporter on his congressional campaign Web site.
Kitts, a two-term state representative from Hillsboro, was endorsed by AFSCME during his re-election bid to the Legislature. However, AFSCME is backing Wu for Congress.
When told of the endorsement listing, Mary Botkin, a senior lobbyist for AFSCME Council 75, fired off an e-mail to the Kitts campaign, stating in part: “We were just informed that you list our organization as one of your supporters. Were you seeking re-election to the position you currently hold that may have been true. However, you are running for CD 1 against Congressman David Wu and Congressman Wu has the support of Council 75. Please remove our name from your Web site.”
© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.