Monday, June 06, 2016

UMWA endorses Ohio Republican running against Democrat with ties to Hillary Clinton

The United Mine Workers of America's endorsement of an Ohio Republican over a Democrat with ties to Hillary Clinton is another example of how far the presidential candidate has fallen in the coalfields, an area where her husband performed well during his presidential runs. The UMWA "has endorsed Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman for re-election over former Gov. Ted Strickland, making southeastern Ohio even more of a battleground in the upcoming U.S. Senate election," Tom Troy reports for The Blade in Toledo. "The dispute over the future of coal-mining jobs will be a major issue in southeastern Ohio and will potentially cut into support for Strickland, who is from the area and who represented the area in Congress."

The Portman campaign was quick to point out that Strickland "has refused to denounce Clinton’s comments that, if elected, 'We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business'," Troy writes. "The Portman campaign also cited a statement by the coal industry association that 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 Strickland resigned as president of the Center for American Progress, the organization "strongly endorsed the Obama administration’s plan to establish carbon-pollution standards for power plants that would likely further reduce demand for coal."

Strickland countered that as a senator Portman "cut funding for mine safety and repeal legislation expanding access to black-lung benefits for miners and their families," Troy writes. He also said Portman  "took a $1,000 donation from Don Blankenship, former chief executive officer of Massey Energy, who was convicted of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards, and $2,400 from Richard Whiting, CEO Of Patriot Coal, 'who fought to protect millions in bonuses to mining executives while cutting pensions for mine workers.'”

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