CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Democratic congressional candidate Vic Wulsin has received a major boost from six unions -- including the American Federation of Teachers, which represents Cincinnati's classroom teachers. The unions Wednesday publicly endorsed her bid to recapture the OH-02 Democratic nomination, and the big bloc of labor support means money and volunteer workers are on their way to Wulsin. She is a public health physician who faces a March primary against Steve Black, a lawyer who switched parties and is running a well-financed effort seeking the Democratic nomination. OH-02 covers seven southern Ohio counties. The seat is currently held by conservative Republican U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, who barely defeated Wulsin in 2006.
Black was endorsed last year by the United Food and Commercial Workers. Besides the teachers, Wulsin now has support from the United Auto Workers, the Service Employees International Union, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the National Association of Letter Carriers and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, whose national headquarters is in Cleveland. Wulsin has more about the endorsements on her on her website.
Cincinnati Federation of Teachers President Tim Kraus pointed out that Wulsin's four sons all attended public schools. Democratic insiders know that was a shot at Wulsin's opponent. Black has been involved with The Seven Hills School, a pricey, private prep school where he served as board chairman. Said Kraus:
"Vic Wulsin knows the issues that Southern Ohio families face. Her four sons went to public school, and she's been on the front lines providing health care to people with no other options right here in Cincinnati."
All in all, a good day for Wulsin.
Black countered by accusing Wulsin of rejecting his call for seven debates across the district. He also said he would join Wulsin in refusing to accept Congressional health care benefits if elected. But at the same time, he described the pledges as hollow acts.
"These pledges do nothing to fix our broken health care system or help the hardworking people of this district who can't afford health care. If we're going to solve the problems facing Ohio families, we need an honest leader who will stand up for what is right and get results, not an individual who thinks feel-good pledges will solve the health care crisis or fix our broken system."
Inquiring minds are wondering: If the health care pledge is merely "feel good," rhetoric then why did Black opt to make it? Did Wulsin just maneuver Black into following her lead?