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Liberal group's spending in 2012 campaigns reported

On Sunday, Dome reported some of the big corporate contributors to a national GOP group that helped finance N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby’s re-election.

On the other side of the ledger, the first post-election federal report from the North Carolina liberal umbrella group Common Sense Matters has also been filed.

It reports spending about $774,000 on about a dozen campaigns, including that of Newby’s challenger, appellate Judge Sam Ervin IV, mostly on direct mail.

Its last-minute contributors include the Teamster’s DRIVE Committee, which gave $40,000 total for the year; N.C. Futures Action Fund (Democratic activist Dean Debnam’s project), $295,000 total; the N.C. League of Conservation Voters, $80,000, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, $21,000.

The Republican State Leadership Committee, which spent $13.3 million nationally, sent $1 million to the effort to re-elect Newby.

Dalton gets labor endorsement

Teamsters Local 391 endorsed Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton in the Democratic primary for governor.

Local 391 is the largest of the three locals in North Carolina, with 8,000 members from the Triad to the coast.

Dalton is in a crowded primary where the other main competitors are former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge and state Rep. Bill Faison.

Teamsters split over U.S. Senate

Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham thought he had the Teamsters endorsement locked down, but it seems he didn't have it entirely nailed shut.

The Charlotte-based Teamsters Local 71, one of three locals in the state, on Monday announced it was backing Senate candidate Elaine Marshall, Rob Christensen reports.

"Elaine Marshall has stood with us for years," said Local President Ted Russell in a statement. "She has protected our pensions and insurance. We know where she stands and we can’t say that about the other candidates."

That was apparently a reference to a recent Associated Press story in which Cunningham said he did not support the card check provision of the Employee Free Choice Act.

Cunningham, a former state senator from Lexington, had earlier won the backing of Local 391, the state's largest Teamsters local headquartered in Greensboro. Rob Black, a spokesman for Local 391, said he there was an agreement among all three Teamsters locals to endorse Cunningham, and he said he has "no clue" as to why the Charlotte local decided to split off.

"The vast majority of Teamsters are for Cal Cunningham," Black said.

Perdue dedicates union hall

Gov. Beverly Perdue helped Teamsters president James P. Hoffa dedicate a renovated union hall in Greensboro over the weekend.

The governor showed up for the dedication of the offices of Teamsters Local 391, which had been heavily damaged during storms last year, Rob Christensen reports.

Perdue told the 400 people attending the event about her visit to an unemployment office in Raleigh, where she chatted with people who have lost their jobs during the recession.

Perdue was elected last year with significant support from organized labor.

"Clearly the governor gets a lot of requests (for public appearances,)" said Rob Black, a spokesman for Local 391. "The fact that she honored the Teamsters is testament that we have worked with her since since her days in the state Senate. Our working relationship goes back a long way."

In an historical footnote, Hoffa’s father, former Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, dedicated the grand opening of the building in 1962.

Labor spending doubled from '04

Labor spending on state races more than doubled since the 2004 elections.

According to campaign finance reports, six unions spent about $2.2 million on contributions and independent expenditures for campaigns for state office in 2004.

That's less than half the $4.7 million spent this year.

Here's a breakdown:

Service Employees International Union: $1.5 million

N.C. Association of Educators: $272,803

International Brotherhood of Teamsters: $198,150

National Education Association: $149,000

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: $40,000

State Employees Association of N.C.: $35,059

N.C. chapter of the AFL-CIO: $8,000

UNITE HERE: $5,000

United Auto Workers: $600

Hagan received $199k from unions

Sen.-elect Kay Hagan received $199,000 from unions in 2008.

The Greensboro Democrat received donations from 29 political action committees affiliated with labor unions during her run for the Senate, according to federal campaign finance reports.

Top donors included the Teamsters, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, United Food and Commercial Workers, the International Association of Firefighters and the Communications Workers of America, which each gave $10,000.

She also received significant donations from the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the United Transportation Union.

Change to Win, a federation of unions including the Teamsters, also made robocalls on Hagan's behalf, and the SEIU and the UFCW donated to Majority Action, which ran ads attacking Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

How much did labor spend in '08?

How much did labor groups spend in 2008?

We're still working through the campaign finance reports, but here are the numbers Dome has collected so far on spending in state races by unions and employee associations:

National Education Association: $1,935,703

Service Employees International Union: $1,810,569

International Brotherhood of Teamsters: $334,117

N.C. Association of Educators: $267,230

State Employees Association of N.C.: $194,800

United Food and Commercial Workers Union: $116,500

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: $41,500

Communications Workers of America: $18,750

UNITE HERE: $16,500

United Auto Workers: $9,000

N.C. Chapter of the AFL-CIO: $4,000

That adds up to $4.7 million for the 2008 cycle. However, it does not take into account money given by unions to groups such as the Democratic Governors Association, which also spent heavily here.

It also does not include spending in the U.S. Senate race.

Teamsters spent $334k in '08

The Teamsters spent $334,117 on North Carolina races in 2008.

The DRIVE political action committee of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters gave to 37 candidates for state offices, including eight running for Council of State positions, according to campaign finance reports.

The largest individual recipients were state Treasurer-elect Janet Cowell, who received $8,067, and unsuccessful labor commissioner candidate Mary Fant Donnan, who received $6,000. Both positions are considered important to labor, with the treasurer overseeing the state pension fund.

Gov.-elect Beverly Perdue, Lt. Gov.-elect Walter Dalton and primary rival Hampton Dellinger, Attorney General Roy Cooper, Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall also received significant donations.

The Teamsters also gave $202,500 to the N.C. Democratic Party, $30,000 to the Democratic Senate Caucus and $15,000 to the Democratic House Caucus and made small donations to the Carolina Drive Chapter 1, Hear Our Public Employees and the Wake County Democratic Party.

They also gave $13,000 total to 11 incumbent senators, including Senate leaders Tony Rand and Marc Basnight and Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger; and $20,000 total to 18 incumbent representatives, including Speaker Joe Hackney.

Berger was the only Republican and Donnan the only challenger to an incumbent to receive donations.

Update: Figures updated to include two last-minute donations to the Democratic Party. 

Homegrown labor leaders in N.C.

Three major labor leaders are based in North Carolina.

Though the state has historically not been considered friendly to labor, it has produced three leaders of major national unions in recent years:

John Wilson: A former Raleigh teacher, Wilson worked his way up the ranks of the N.C. Association of Educators, serving as president and executive director. Now executive director of the National Education Association, he has ties to Gov.-elect Beverly Perdue.

Jack Cipriani: After moving to North Carolina in 1975, Cipriani was a shop steward at Miller Brewing and now serves as Eastern Region vice president of the Teamsters. Gov. Mike Easley appointed him to the state's Employment Security Commission.

Chris Chafe: The Carrboro resident began organizing textile mills, eventually heading UNITE HERE and advising John Edwards' presidential campaign. Earlier this year, he was appointed executive director of Change to Win, a coalition of labor unions.

The three may be as much a symptom as a cause of increased labor activity in North Carolina, since their experience in traditionally hostile territory dovetails nicely with an increased emphasis on offense by national unions.

Change to Win on Hagan robocalls

The Change to Win Federation said Kay Hagan will help workers.

In a statement e-mailed to Dome, Teamster Local 391 president Jack Cipriani said that recent robocalls are in support of the Democratic Senate candidate:

"Change to Win and its affiliates — like my union, the Teamsters — are working aggressively to elect Kay Hagan to the United States Senate this November. Hagan is committed to keeping good jobs in America by promoting trade policies that stop the shipping of jobs overseas. We are running a robust mail, phone and canvass program to contact members across the state to spread the message that Kay Hagan is the best candidate for working families in North Carolina, and across America."

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