I can’t say that I blame labor unions for putting more focus on gubernatorial races than senatorial ones. They don’t want the Democrats to lose their majority in the Senate, but they really don’t want to see Rick Scott, Tom Corbett, Paul LePage, Rick Snyder, John Kasich, or Scott Walker get reelected.
But it’s not a good omen for the Senate that labor is concentrating their firepower elsewhere. Kay Hagan, in particular, could use their help. But Hagan, probably figuring that she represents the least unionized state in the country, has earned the wrath of labor.
In a speech Monday to his union’s legislative conference, Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), said Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) would not be receiving IAFF support in their reelection races this year.
The firefighters are angry about a December 2010 Senate vote on legislation that would have expanded collective bargaining rights for firefighters and police officers. The bill failed to move forward in a 55-43 vote, with Hagan and Warner joining the Republicans in voting against cloture.
Calling Hagan “one of our great double-crossers,” Schaitberger said, “she now has a tough reelection, and I have made her a promise, and one I plan to keep.”
“That is she won’t get one damn dime from this union. She won’t get one ounce of support,” said Schaitberger, who was then drowned out by applause from the crowd.
Sen. Hagan will be in tough fight in November and every vote counts, but she needs union organizers more than she needs union votes. She also doesn’t need firefighters saying “to hell with her.”
The thing is, her seat is one we really need to keep. These are six-year terms we’re talking about.