Las Vegas Sun

April 18, 2014

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Union targeting Nevada in voter campaign

The organizational juggernaut being built here by the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama is getting a boost from the Service Employees International Union.

Nevada is among a number of battleground states the union has targeted as part of its major voter registration campaign. Democrats now outnumber Republicans in the state by 60,000 voters.

By Labor Day, the SEIU expects to have nearly 1,000 members working in 20 states, including Nevada. More than 100,000 are expected to volunteer in the run-up to the presidential election. The union plans to spend $85 million overall on election efforts. The Nevada affiliate represents 17,500 health care and public sector workers.

Obama also has the help of the Culinary Union. The 60,000-strong union of casino and hotel workers endorsed Obama in the Nevada caucus but did so only 10 days before the contest, hindering its ability to educate its members about the candidate. Although Obama ultimately won more delegates statewide, his chief rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote.

Nationally, the country's two labor coalitions -- the AFL-CIO and Change to Win -- have pledged to pour massive resources into electing Obama.

Obama's deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand told Sun partner Politico last week that Republicans' big challenge will be compensating for their diminished ranks.

The challenge for Democrats: turning out their new voters.

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