This week, to no one’s surprise, 1st District hopeful Frank Kratovil picked up the endorsement of the National Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education and its subordinate organization in Maryland. It was the second union endorsement the Democrat obtained as the Ironworkers Union selected him back in November for their approval.
While there have been a number of endorsements for most of the players in the race, the biggest advantage in the ones Frank Kratovil has secured is obtaining a lot of boots for the ground game. Sure, the additional money in his coffers coerced from union member dues is going to help his campaign but what will be more important next fall will be the volunteers that come from these groups.
Last year, I renewed a tradition that I had participated in for several years about the turn of the millennium by working a polling place for District 38B candidate Bonnie Luna. (Somewhere she has a picture of her and I out in the rain that poured on the November 2006 election.) Not surprisingly, I was joined by a bunch of Democrats, mostly teachers that were there to push for Martin O’Malley, Norm Conway, and the rest of their favored team.
The same held true when I worked polls back in Ohio – whereas I took a vacation day, UAW members automatically had the day off so they could come out in force with their voter guides. And while the union influence is nowhere near as strong in this part of Maryland, more urban parts of the First District could see a push of unionistas doing their part to get more Democrats like Frank Kratovil elected.
One problem with having such a divisive race in the First District is the hurt feelings that will occur when one wins. Truth be told, I wouldn’t be nearly as jazzed to help Wayne Gilchrest than I would Andy Harris or maybe E.J. Pipkin, but we’ll have a Presidential race and at least two ballot issues (early voting and slots) that need volunteers for the election as well. Generally, Democrats have no such problem because of the ready-made volunteer pool of the unions and that’s what makes these Kratovil endorsements so important to counter.
It’s something for the conservative grassroots to keep in mind because we’re sure to be outvolunteered in any local race unless everyone does their part to help get Republicans elected along with defeating the early voting and slots referenda. You know the Democrats will be out in full force for those two issues.
Crossposted on Red Maryland.