Unions Unleash Ads in New Hampshire, Wisconsin

Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:30pm

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the

and the Service Employees International Union have launched ad campaigns totaling almost $2 million in two tight statewide races in New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

The New Hampshire campaign features a $1.3 million joint ad by AFSCME and SEIU assailing GOP gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne as a “radical” who “wants to end Medicare as we know it.”

Polls show Lamontagne statistically tied with Democrat Maggie Hassan in the open-seat gubernatorial contest. The joint ad targeting Lamontagne will run in the Boston-Manchester market between now and Election Day.

SEIU also unveiled a $600,000 ad targeting former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, the Republican vying against Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin to succeed retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D). Polls there also show a statistical dead heat. The SEIU ad tars Thompson as raking in “millions at a D.C. lobbying firm that represents big oil, pharmaceuticals and other billion-dollar corporations.”

AFSCME and SEIU are both among the top outside spenders in this election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and have helped Democrats offset the substantial financial edge that GOP-friendly super PACs enjoy over those favoring Democrats.

The SEIU has spent $20.6 million so far, according to CRP, ranking it second only to Priorities USA Action, the super PAC backing President Barack Obama, in terms of pro-Democratic outside campaign expenditures. AFSCME’s campaign spending totals $12.9 million so far, by CRP’s tally, ranking it among the top 10 outside groups.