Public services employees union AFSCME and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) have joined forces to support the U.S. Senate candidacy of Michigan Democrat Gary Peters. The exciting new partnership shows the breadth of support that Peters has garnered. Today they are announcing a $2.1 million mail and voter turnout operation to elect Peters on November 4th. The program will begin in October and will contact more than a million registered voters across the state by Election Day.
“The oil billionaire Koch Brothers are behind a multimillion dollar campaign to buy their ally Terri Lynn Land a Senate seat. This campaign will ensure that voters learn the truth about Land’s extreme anti-environmental agenda,” said Daniel J. Weiss, LCV Senior Vice President for Campaigns. “We’re proud to join with AFSCME to inform Michigan voters that Rep. Gary Peters stands for public health protection and job creation.”
LCV Executive Director Lisa Wozniak was equally enthusiastic. “Rep. Gary Peters’ leadership to protect the Great Lakes and the health of Michigan families stands in stark contrast to Terri Lynn Land’s agenda that would benefit her polluter allies,” she said. “Voters deserve to know that Land’s extreme agenda would put Michigan’s water, air, land, and wildlife at risk.”
The joint project will target so-called “sporadic voters”, those who voted in the 2012 Presidential election but did not vote in the 2010 midterm election. The mail and turnout operation will reach more than 1.1 million voters by Election Day.
In March Peters received the endorsement of the LCV Action Fund which works to elect candidates who will implement sound environmental policies. His voting record has earned Peters a 93% on LCV’s 2013 National Environmental Scorecard and a lifetime score of 89%.
AFSCME also endorsed Peters in March based on his record of “supporting and voting for legislation that protects the middle class, helps working families and protects quality public services.” They gave Peters a score of 97% on their most recent Congressional Scorecard based on his career in Congress.
In addition to the announcement of the joint project, the partnership also released a new poll showing Peters with a 6% lead, 43-37%, over Republican candidate Terri Lynn Land. The poll of 900 likely voters was conducted by by Benenson Strategy Group from July 26th through July 29th and has a margin of error of ±3.2%.
In the poll, when undecided voters were pressed to decide based on which way they lean, Peters still trumped Land by 5 points, 47% to 42%. Additionally, Land’s unfavorables were at 37%, 15 points higher than Peters.
The poll also shows how Land’s ties to the corporatist Koch brothers may actually be hurting her candidacy despite the large amount of money they are spending on her behalf. Respondents viewed the Kochs unfavorably by a 2:1 margin over those who responded favorably.
This new alliance between workers and environmentalists shows that Peters enjoys broad support from voters across the state. Whether it’s protecting families and workers or the environment, Peters represents the values of Michigan voters on a wide variety of issues.
While Land continues to hide from public scrutiny, Peters is out talking with voters and reporters, getting out his message and interacting openly. Meanwhile, Land has all but disappeared from the public eye. A National Journal article published yesterday titled “Republicans Are Losing Faith in Their Michigan Senate Candidate” tells the tale:
Predictably, Land has gone into a shell since that disastrous incident [with reporters on Mackinac Island]. She limits her exposure to fundraisers and photo-ops. She makes no appearances that allow for unscripted interaction with voters. And she has essentially ended all engagement with the media (including with this correspondent, who, for purposes of disclosure, has known Land for years and cited her as a source when reporting on Michigan and national politics.) Land declined to comment for this story.
After the article was published, not one Michigan Republican came to Land’s defense:
Not a single Michigan Republican has pushed back on TLL story. Not even one of her campaign staffers. They've left it to NRSC. Telling.
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) August 6, 2014
The Supreme Court decision in Citizens United has created a new playing field in politics, one in which corporate money has far more influence and power. Strategic alliances between issue groups such as this one are one way to fight back against corporate cash and massive spending by wealthy ideologues like Charles and David Koch or the DeVos family here in Michigan.
At the end of the day, inundating voters with endless attack ads can only go so far. Voter outreach like this one will likely prove far more effective in the long term. Kudos to AFSCME and the LCV for using the best approach to support the best candidate in Michigan’s Senate race, Congressman Gary Peters.
It’s time to GOTV!
[Peters photo credit: Anne Savage. GOTMFV photo by Chris Savage | Eclectablog.]