The Wall Street Journal reports AFSCME has become the biggest spender of campaign cash, dipping in to an $87.5M fund to energize their 1.6M members and to turn out the Dem base. What's telling is how much of that money -- or rather, how little -- has shown up on television. AFSCME has put just about $6.2M in the mail and on TV since 8/1, far less than American Crossroads, the Chamber of Commerce or other GOP-leaning groups.
That means the union's money is going more to field programs, which are harder to trace but, in a year in which the number of undecided voters is very low, can be as effective. While GOP-friendly groups have focused on TV, AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, SEIU and other unions are spending money on the ground -- meaning there's more Dem money flowing into the system than may be readily apparent. Oh, and don't forget the millions they spent in a failed effort to defeat Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) in the primary.
Meanwhile, who's behind the Ending Spending Fund? The conservative super PAC's treasurer Nancy Watkins lives in Tampa, and she's the top financial officer for at least 4 big-spending IE organizations. Watkins has a reputation as a top GOP money manager, and she's been treasurer for dozens of GOP candidates. Her new PAC spent $594K against Sen. Harry Reid earlier this week, and now they're spending $60K going after Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX) and $175K attacking Rep. John Spratt (D-SC). Interestingly, the group is also spending $20K on an ad supporting Rep. Walt Minnick (D-ID), according to FEC filings.