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Dems fear union cash drain in Wisconsin


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Organized labor’s plans to spend heavily to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ® has sparked angst on the left that the effort will come at the expense of Democrats in other states.

The funding disparity between groups allied with either Republicans or Democrats is one of the biggest concerns for New York Sen. Charles Schumer, the Senate Democrats’ chief political strategist.

Unions have made ousting Walker a top priority and are poised to spend heavily in Wisconsin. But Democratic strategists and some senior political experts within the labor movement believe the initiative should have been launched before the November presidential election.
Labor officials are also looking at investing resources in Indiana, a red-leaning state, to battle controversial right-to-work legislation backed by Gov. Mitch Daniels ®.

But the Wisconsin fight will consume far more resources. This is a stomach-churning prospect for Democrats and their allies because the labor expenditures could come just months before the general election, when money will be needed for more important battlegrounds such as Ohio and Florida.

“Some were asking us whether we could wait until after the election, but we can’t. This is too big a deal,” said one labor official.

A decision by labor unions to spend millions on a state-level political battle means Democrats will have that much less outside money helping President Obama and congressional candidates this fall.

The Wisconsin endeavor could help Democrats retain retiring Sen. Herb Kohl’s (D-Wis.) seat, but there are only two House races — Reps. Sean Duffy ® and Reid Ribble ® — in the state that are competitive, according to The Cook Political Report.

Labor leaders believe the Walker race has important national implications, even if it does not appear to have a direct impact on Obama’s reelection. They believe it will send a strong message to other Republican governors to think twice about pushing the anti-labor reforms that Walker aggressively championed. snip
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