Labor Group Targets Minority Voters With Six-Figure Ad Buy in Battleground States

Get-out-the-vote campaign is the biggest investment in African American, Hispanic voters in AFL-CIO history

A voter enters the polling station at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, to vote in the special election to fill Jeff Sessions’ seat in the U.S. Senate. In the foreground is a historical marker noting a 1963 civil rights march to the courthouse to register African-American women as voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
A voter enters the polling station at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, to vote in the special election to fill Jeff Sessions’ seat in the U.S. Senate. In the foreground is a historical marker noting a 1963 civil rights march to the courthouse to register African-American women as voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted October 3, 2018 at 3:54pm

The AFL-CIO federation of labor unions launched a massive get-out-the-vote campaign targeting minority voters this week, making it the latest group to increase its investment in non-white communities in the lead-up to the 2018 midterms. 

The $600,000 in radio advertisements on African-American and Spanish-language programs represents the biggest media investment in minority communities in AFL-CIO history, representatives said. 

“It’s no secret that communities of color have often been taken for granted,” said Julie Greene, AFL-CIO political electoral and issue mobilization director. But a series of recent political upsets have demonstrated the power minority voters can have when they show up en masse, she said.

“We are making big wins in places where we’re not supposed to be making them because people of color have been turning out,” she said.

Greene pointed to Sen. Doug Jones’ victory in the 2017 Alabama special election, in which black voters made up 29 percent of the electorate. Likewise, Democratic governors Phil Murphy in New Jersey and Ralph Northam in Virginia won in 2017 with strong turnout from Black and Hispanic voters. Minority voters typically favor Democrats.

The AFL-CIO ads will run in 26 markets considered battlegrounds, including so-called Rust Belt regions in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan that helped clinch President Trump’s 2016 victory. 

The ads, broadcast in English and Spanish, do not mention specific candidates. Rather, an announcer invites listeners to check out labor-endorsed candidates on the AFL-CIO website.

“Vote for good jobs and a secure retirement,” the text reads. “Vote for affordable, quality healthcare. Vote for dignity, equality and opportunity.”

The campaign will run through election day, Greene said.