Today, Georgians headed to the polls to cast their ballots in the critical U.S. Senate run-off race between Democrat Jim Martin and Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss. ThinkProgress stopped by the IBEW union hall in Atlanta, where members were canvassing, calling residents, and doing final get-out-the-vote work. The energy in the venue significantly jumped up when Martin himself stopped by, greeting volunteers and taking pictures.
ThinkProgress spoke to several of these union members about the stakes for Georgia in this election. All cited the economy as the number one issue, noting the state’s skyrocketing unemployment numbers and their firsthand experiences with job losses and declines in business. They were particularly incensed at Chambliss’s promise to demolish unions and his record voting against middle-class priorities such as the minimum wage increase. Some highlights:
George Noel, UAW Local 2378: “Even as I’m canvassing, I’m seeing so many houses vacant. Just boarded up. It’s crazy.”
Fred Martin, AFSCME Local 1644: “He’s [Chambliss] not a union supporter. He feels that Georgia, being a right-to-work state, that the state should not be organized.”
Charles Fleming, President, Atlanta-North GA Labor Council, AFL-CIO: “He’s voted against raising the minimum wage. He’s voted against SCHIP — a children’s health care program. He supports many of these trade deals that have gone on under the Bush administration. Quite frankly, we think he has a terrible voting record for workers and working families.”
Annie McCrimmon, CWA Local 3204: “I think he’d [Saxby] be bad for unions. … Even in his commercial, you see how he says — he has this commercial about union-busting. I believe he’d be #1 on trying to bust the union and the working people.”
Watch the interviews here:
Senate Guru takes a look at the key counties to watch as the results come in tonight in Georgia’s Senate run-off.