Policy: Labor

Virginia gubernatorial contender Terry McAuliffe rakes in nearly $2m from Big Labor

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Terry McAuliffe,Campaigns,Analysis

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has raised more than $1.8 million for his campaign from organized labor sources. As far as Big Labor is concerned, McAuliffe is clearly their man, despite having spent much of the campaign trying to distance himself from unions.

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, McAuliffe has raised more than $18 million overall, meaning that about one out of every 10 of those dollars came from a union coffer. Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli does not appear to have raised one cent from Big Labor.

His top union sources include the United Steelworkers ($275,000), the Laborers International Union of North America ($250,000), the Communications Workers of America ($150,000), and the Service Employees International Union ($119,000). He has gotten a total of $629,000 from various government employee unions as well.

It is hard to see what interest some of these donors have in a Virginia election. McAuliffe got $2,500 from Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 and $2,000 from Sheet Metal Workers Local 36. Both are based in St. Louis, Mo.

In the face of attacks from Cuccinelli, McAuliffe has strived to present himself as a pro-business Democrat. He has stated, for example, that he would not change Virginia's right to work law, which unions oppose.

At other times McAuliffe has been more evasive. He has refused to say for example whether he would support "project labor agreements" for state construction projects. These are agreements that require the contractors to pay workers union-level wages even if they are not union members.

In any event, the unions are voting with their wallets. Clearly, they feel comfortable with McAuliffe.

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