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Thursday, November 01, 2007

OH-02 Steve Black: Newly Minted Dem Receives Labor Support

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A labor union that represents thousands of retail workers across southern Ohio's 2nd Congressional District is backing Steve Black in the March 2008 Democratic primary. It's a bit of a stunner because Black had been a Republican until he switched parties to make the race. Black's campaign received a $5,000 check from the United Food and Commercial Workers, along with a letter that wishes him good luck and promises future assistance. Federal Election Commission records show the check was deposited in the Black campaign account two months ago.

Black's camp is now portraying the union's support as an "endorsement." He was with UFCW Local 1099 at a rally earlier this week in downtown Cincinnati. About 11,000 members of the union are employed by Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. in SW Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana, and they have a midnight strike deadline. Kroger is threatening to hire replacement workers. The union has about 1.3 million members across the U.S.

Black is challenging 2006 OH-02 Democratic nominee Victoria Wulsin, who is running again. By backing Black financially in a contested primary, the UFCW seems to have signaled it has accepted him into the Democratic fold and believes he has stronger chance of ending GOP control over OH-02 than Wulsin.

The seat is now held by U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Clermont County, who has an opponent in her own party, Phil Heimlich, R-Cincinnati. The UFCW's Local 1099s letter told Black it has "trust" he would be a voice for working families. It arrived a week before he got the $5,000 donation from the national union. The letter says:

"Your active support of the right to bargain collectively, the fight against Wal-Mart, and the quest for better lives for working families will surely be an asset to our members. Best of luck in the coming months, we look forward to helping you take back this seat."

Joel Coon, Black's campaign manager, said the candidate met with the union and filled out a questionnaire before nailing down the union's support. Coon said it should allay concerns among Ohio Democrats that Black -- a partner in a downtown law firm with a corporate clientele -- is still tied to his Republican roots.

"I think it does. We're not free traders here. We need fair trade. They've been giving away the bank," Coon said, adding that Black has made economic justice a central theme of his campaign.


  1. As a former UFCW member, I'm glad to see my old union get behind Steve Black. He is the only Democrat that can win in OH-2.

  2. You should know that Steve is not the "newly minted" Democrat you present. During the Kerry campaign, Steve and his wife housed Kerry travelers for several months. I know because my mother was one of them. Steve's beliefs and values are not new. As Democrats, you ought to be excited that you have someone like Steve Black running in this election.

    Steve has not changed his stripes, just his party label. And, thank goodness. Steve is exactly the kind of Democrat the party and Ohio needs. Steve is also the best candidate in either party, period. He is the only one strong enough and smart enough to win AND to represent Southwestern Ohio.

    Last election cycle, few people actually did any research on the opposition. Check the campaign contributions for both candidates. Steve made more contributions to Democrats and in larger dollar amounts than Vic Wulsin. And, he and his family were active volunteers and contributors to the Wulsin campaign! Get to the substance of this election or you may end up with two more years of Jean Schmidt.

    By the way, anyone who has lost the election for the same seat twice should not be the heir apparent.

  3. Steve Black, as a Democrat, I ask you where were you when there was a two day long anti-war protest in front of Schmidt's office? Where were you when Bush came to Hyde Park with Jean Schmidt last week? Why did you hire two out-of-town losers when there are plenty of people here to do a good job? I think you're an inherited wealth rich guy who doesn't want to dirty his hands with the hoi polloi.