COLUMBUS, Ohio – Yesterday, the Portman for Senate Campaign announced that the United Mine Workers of America’s (UMWA) National Council of Coal Miners Political Action Committee (COMPAC) endorsed Rob Portman for re-election to the U.S. Senate. The Mine Workers endorsement is an important recognition of Rob Portman's leadership protecting Ohio’s coal jobs, and is considered a major blow to Ted Strickland both because the group rarely endorses Republicans and because they endorsed the former Governor in 2006 and 2010. Don’t just take our word for it – here is what they are saying:
WOWK 13: The announcement “counts as a political blow to Strickland”
WHIZ NEWS: Coal Miners back Portman over Strickland for U.S. Senate
AP Ohio: Coal miners PAC backs Portman over Strickland for US Senate
The endorsement by the United Mine Workers of America's National Council of Coal Miners PAC came as a political blow to Strickland. The Democrat is a former governor and congressman native to eastern Ohio whose strong relationships with labor have helped him win elections. COMPAC backed both Strickland's gubernatorial campaigns in 2006 and 2010.
Strickland is tied to presidential contender Hillary Clinton, who alienated coal miners in March when she said "we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.
Cleveland.com: A big endorsement for Rob Portman
The United Mine Workers of America, a union friendly to former Gov. Ted Strickland and other Democrats in past elections, has thrown its support in Ohio's closely watched Senate race to Republican incumbent Rob Portman…
It's a notable, if not exactly surprising, blow to Strickland, who represented Ohio's coal country in Congress. Last year, as Strickland was preparing his challenger to Portman, a union leader hinted that Strickland's move to the left on environmental issues was a potential problem.
Washington Examiner: Portman nabs rare union endorsement in re-election fight
Portman won the endorsement over former Gov. Ted Strickland, his Democratic opponent, who won the group's support during his gubernatorial runs in 2006 and 2010, but lost it this time around largely due to his work at the Center for American Progress, which is staunchly anti-coal.
In a letter, the group's National Council of Coal Miners Political Action Committee (COMPAC) thanked Portman for his efforts to support coal miners past and present, noting that they unanimously endorsed him. The letter did not mention Strickland.
Christian Palich, president of the Ohio Coal Association in the Washington Free Beacon:
“Only one candidate for Senate this November can be trusted to stand up for Ohio coal families and that is Rob Portman,” Christian Palich, president of the Ohio Coal Association, told the Free Beacon in a statement. “The UMWA endorsement is well deserved since Senator Portman has been a steadfast friend of miners, fighting everyday against radicals in Washington who seek to destroy their jobs.”
Ohio Coal Association on Facebook:
Cincinnati Enquirer’s Chrissie Thompson on Twitter:
Toledo Blade: Mine workers union endorses Sen. Portman for re-election
The Portman campaign also cited a statement by the coal industry association that Mr. Strickland has gotten behind “radical anti-coal policies that could kill 53,000 Ohio jobs, lower access to affordable energy, and threaten grid reliability.”
In March, 2015, after Mr. Strickland resigned, the Center for American Progress strongly endorsed the Obama administration’s plan to establish carbon-pollution standards for power plants that would likely further reduce demand for coal.
The Hill: Coal miners union backs Republican Portman in Ohio Senate race
The Wednesday announcement through the UMWA’s PAC is a rare endorsement of a Republican for a Senate race from the union.
Democrats’ support for organized labor has historically ensured that the party’s candidates would get the UMWA’s backing, but issues like President Obama’s environmental agenda and its impact on the coal industry have frayed relations with the party.
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) is running to replace Portman. The UMWA endorsed Strickland in his 2006 and 2010 gubernatorial runs and has only endorsed Democrats in Ohio races since 2010.
National Journal: Portman picked up an endorsement Wednesday from the United Mine Workers of America
At the same time, Republicans say, the UMWA’s decision to abandon Strickland after backing both of his gubernatorial campaigns is a prime example of Democrats being burdened by Hillary Clinton at the top of their ticket. Clinton caused heartburn for a number of coal-state Democrats in March when she inartfully said she would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” in reference to clean-energy plans.
Politico Pro: Mine workers endorse Portman
The United Mine Workers of America PAC today endorsed Portman in Ohio, an unusual move for a union that twice in the past endorsed Portman's opponent, former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. The PAC's leaders commended Portman for supporting the industry, "especially in such difficult times as the coal industry is experiencing today."
Morning Consult: Portman Gets Backing From Coal Miners Union
Unlike some endorsers, the group can hardly be defined as a reliable supporter of Republicans. It endorsed Strickland in both of his campaigns for governor, and in 2014, the union supported Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes over Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell – a move that earned the ire of some conservatives.
Portman, in a statement Thursday, said Strickland has turned “his back on Coal Country,” pointing to his advocacy while serving as president of the Center for American Progress.
COMPAC endorsed Ted Strickland both times he ran for Governor – in 2006 and 2010. They also endorsed all of the Ohio Democrats running for office in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
COMPAC endorsed these prominent Senate Democrats in 2012:
- Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
- Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
- Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
- Joe Manchin (D-WV)
- Tim Kaine (D-VA)
- Bob Casey (D-PA)
And in 2014, COMPAC endorsed these prominent Democrats running for Senate:
- Dick Durbin (D-IL)
- Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY)
- Mark Udall (D-CO)
- Mark Warner (D-VA)
Coal Country does not have a friend in Ted Strickland:
Ted Strickland has refused to denounce Hillary Clinton’s comments attacking coal workers when she said that, if elected, “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” In a press release, Rob Portman condemned Clinton’s remarks and called on Ted Strickland to denounce them.
On April 1, 2014, former Governor Ted Strickland started his first day as President of the anti-gun, anti-coal, pro-tax, pro-Obamacare Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund – a liberal special interest group.
Ohio Coal Association: Strickland Is “Bad For Ohio Coal” (Ohio Coal Association, 2/8/15) "Moving from Ohio to Washington, DC has a tendency to change people. So it’s no surprise that for the past couple years, former Governor Ted Strickland has been advocating for the Obama Administration’s radical anti-coal policies that could kill 53,000 Ohio jobs, lower access to affordable energy, and threaten grid reliability... Ted Strickland has always liked to claim that he supports Ohio’s coal industry, but he has done just the opposite. Rumors are that Ted Strickland is considering moving back to Ohio to get back into politics and run for the U.S. Senate against Senator Rob Portman in 2016. If he does, Strickland will have a lot to answer to Ohio's coal voters on why he betrayed the people he used to represent in Congress and why he has been getting paid by a liberal Washington think tank for the past few years to advocate policies that are bad for Ohio coal, as well as anyone who turns on a light switch."
The Buckeye Firearms Association says Strickland "completely and totally lost his way in Washington, D.C. (Buckeye Firearms Association, 2/11/15) "...In short, former Governor Ted Strickland, despite the good he did for gun owners when he lived in Ohio, has completely and totally lost his way in Washington D.C... And gun owners aren't the only ones who are concerned about his abandonment of Ohioans' values. This week, Cleveland Plain Dealer is quoting Christian Palich, interim president of the Ohio Coal Association, as saying Strickland has also turned his back on Ohio's coal workers and electricity consumers, just as he has Ohio gun owners."
Center for American Progress: “There is no war on coal.” (Center for American Progress, 5/30/14)
CAP Calls Obama’s Anti-Coal Rule ‘Most Important Federal Effort To Cut Carbon’ “…the Obama administration proposed the Clean Power Plan, a landmark policy to establish the first-ever carbon-pollution standards for power plants, the largest industrial source of carbon pollution in the United States… the most important federal effort to cut carbon...” (Center for American Progress, 3/9/15)
Think Progress Said President Obama's EPA Regulations On Power Plants ‘Will Be The Most Significant Thing America Has Ever Done To Combat Climate Change.’ "Regulating carbon emissions from coal plants will be the most significant thing America has ever done to combat climate change. The electricity sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions here, and dropping those 25 percent in 6 years amounts to a reduction of roughly 300 million tons of CO2 each year." (Think Progress, 7/2/14)