ALASKA DEMOCRATS SEEM TO FAVOR BIG-UNION ELIZABETH WARREN
In a Labor Day announcement, Al Gross, candidate for U.S. Senate on the Democratic ticket (as an “independent”), announced his campaign is unionizing under the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. The 30-second Facebook announcement sounded like an April Fool’s joke, but Gross appeared sincere.
This, after a career as a high-flying surgeon, raised questions about his campaign judgment and priorities, since his campaign seems to be a one-man operation, with wife, kids, and a contractor or two. It doesn’t quite pass the giggle test. But as a dark horse, if he’s looking for some coattails in Alaska, maybe the unions will bite on this gimmick. For now, however, the unionizing of his family may have to do.
Unionizing campaign staff is a thing with Democrats in 2019. All the big “Dem-Sens” have done it: Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has the largest unionized campaign staff of the pack, at over 200 paid staffers.
This is a new era for unions, and if Warren keeps ascending, she could be in a good spot with the major unions backing her for the Democratic nomination.
But campaign jobs are notoriously unstable. No only are campaign workers extremely temporary, they are perhaps the most exempt workers of all — they only last until the money runs out, or there’s a win, or until the campaign implodes because of other dynamics. And most campaign workers are volunteers who work for paid staffers and who might get alienated by their union overlords.
Working in a political campaign is not a cookie cutter experience. Every campaign must adjust and adapt to a constantly changing political and fiscal landscape. A scandal may erupt. A person may not get elevated in the campaign because they haven’t won the trust of the candidate. People typically take sick leave when they can, and vacations when the campaigns come to a close.
Other campaigns are run by contractors with expertise in the area and who have other clients and campaigns they are managing.
WHO DO ALASKA DEMOCRATS FAVOR?
At the straw poll at the Alaska State Fair booth of the Mat-Su Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, with the big union campaign staff, was far and away the favorite candidate of the approximately 600 participants in the poll. Here’s the breakdown of the poll after the fair closed on Monday:
- Warren: 35.2 percent
- Sanders: 18.5 percent
- Buttigieg: 13.3 percent
- Biden: 9.6 percent
- Harris: 9.6
- Yang: 7.3 percent
- O’Rourke: 2.4 percent.