Chris Opfer of Bloomberg's Bureau of National Affairs reports:
Labor unions are spending some of their campaign cash on an unlikely ally as the election season heads into the final stretch: a New Jersey Republican running against a former Obama administration adviser.
Labor groups have chipped in about $316,000 toward Rep. Frank LoBiondo’s re-election campaign, more than unions have contributed to all but one other congressional candidate of either party this cycle. That’s also six times more than Democratic challenger Dave Cole has received in contributions from all sources in his uphill battle for LoBiondo’s seat.
The figures, compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and based on disclosures through the second quarter of this year, don’t include outside spending by unions or dark money funneled through Super PACs. The contributions to the 11-term Republican come from some of the same labor organizations that are pushing to secure Democratic control of the Senate and to send Hillary Clinton to the White House.
"We’ve supported Frank LoBiondo for 20 years, and he’s supported us,” UNITE HERE Local 54 President Bob McDevitt told Bloomberg BNA. The union represents casino workers in Atlantic City, part of LoBiondo’s district. “We don’t discard political allies just because there’s someone else running from the Democratic party,” McDevitt added.
Labor groups told Bloomberg BNA that they’re backing LoBiondo based on their history with the candidate, not necessarily because he’s more aligned with them on the issues than Cole. They also noted that the South Jersey lawmaker has used his role as chair of a transportation subcommittee to fight against foreign airlines accused of trying to undercut U.S. air carriers by skirting labor laws.