Florida 1199ers Make Election Day a Great Day for Working Families

January 1, 1970

The big news from Election Day, of course, was the re-election of President Barack Obama. But there were many victories coming out of Tuesday’s votes, in no small part because of 1199 campaigners and voters.

With Florida’s presidential election vote count almost complete—and members of the Romney campaign now conceding that President Obama won the state--here is a snapshot of what 1199SEIU members’ PAC contributions and volunteer efforts in Florida accomplished:

• Four 1199SEIU endorsed candidates were elected to Congress, defeating rightwing incumbents: Joe Garcia, Allen Grayson, Lois Frankel and Patrick Murphy, who defeated Tea Party incumbent Allen West.

• US Senator Bill Nelson, a champion of Obamacare, overwhelmingly defeated his Republican opponent, Connie Mack.

• South Florida was home to the marquee State Senate race where 1199SEIU endorsed candidate Maria Sachs overcame a wave of her opponent’s spending to oust incumbent Ellyn Bogdanoff.

• Campaigning for a seat in the Florida House, pro-working family rising star Jose Javier Rodriguez of Miami took out Alex Diaz de la Portilla, who is from the politically prominent de la Portilla family, in a surprise upset.

• In Central Florida, Mike Clelland beat the incoming Speaker of the House Chris Dorworth by 37 votes.

The Election Day victories were the culmination of several weeks of on-the-ground campaigning throughout Florida by dozens of 1199 volunteer political activists, culminating in a final week where hundreds of their fellow union members knocked on doors and phone-banked to get out the vote. The Florida experience was replicated throughout 1199SEIU-based states from Massachusetts, which elected progressive consumers’ champion Elizabeth Warren to take back the US Senate seat previously held by Ted Kennedy; to upstate New York and the Hudson Valley, where 1199ers played a crucial role in defeating Tea Party-supported incumbents and sending worker-friendly candidates to Washington; to Maryland, where voters passed referenda supporting Marriage Equality and in-state college tuition rates for undocumented immigrants.

1199 Weekend Warriors—members who volunteered to work their weekends campaigning in battleground states—played a crucial role in winning New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia for President Obama’s re-election.