It seems organized labor is no longer content to leave its political fortunes in the hands of its traditional ally, the Democratic Party. The SEIU announced today that the it's launching its own political party in North Carolina, and it plans to to field candidates on the ballot this fall.
Union officials have threatened
to take on Democrats who voted against health care reform in the past, but the usual tactic has been to endorse a Democratic primary challenger. But in North Carolina -- home to several Democratic Representatives who voted against the bill -- the SEIU says it will field candidates in the general election as part of what the what the group is calling the North Carolina First
"Families need a better choice, a better party - not just for health care, but for job creation and keeping bankers and corporations in check," party spokesperson Chuck Stone said in a statement.
SEIU -- and its local affiliate in North Carolina, SEANC -- say that they have more than 100 people on the ground actively gathering the 85,000 signatures necessary to become a recognized political party in North Carolina with a ballot line.
But as Greg Sargent, who first reported the news, writes, the seriousness of the effort is still somewhat in doubt.
"[P]resuming the party qualifies at all, it remains to be seen how much clout it will wield," Sargent writes. "For instance, it's unclear which districts the party might field a candidate in, and what the criteria for picking those districts will be. A lot of these things will be determined by availability of candidates and other local political concerns."