Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sam Arora Tests Anti-Union Message in Poll

One of our spies reported receiving a poll call on behalf of District 19 Delegate candidate Sam Arora last night, and boy, was this one a doozy!

The caller identified the polling firm as Eastern Research from Florida. The caller began with demographic questions and asked the spy which Senate and House candidates he was supporting. The caller then proceeded to ask whether the spy was inclined to support certain candidates who were not named, but merely described. One candidate was described as “a teacher who was a union boss in Montgomery County.” That is obviously Bonnie Cullison, and the term “union boss” was not intended as flattery. Another candidate was described as having graduated at the top of his class in Columbia University, and still another was described as a staffer for Hillary Clinton. Both of these candidates are actually the same person – Sam Arora – who is apparently testing which of his biographical elements go over best with voters.

The caller asked the spy whether he was more or less likely to support a candidate who supported a liquor tax increase, making companies pay their fair share of taxes, rolling back the sales tax hike, lowering ICC tolls, shrinking class sizes, fighting global warming, supporting green jobs, giving tax breaks to people who support private schools and was willing to “stand up against labor unions who have bankrupted Montgomery County.”

Then the caller elaborated on Arora’s position on each of the above issues, asking the spy if those positions made him more or less likely to vote for Arora. According to the caller, one of Arora’s positions was that he was willing to “stand up against labor unions who have bankrupted Montgomery County.”

Finally, the caller asked, given that the spy now knew Arora’s positions, which three Delegate candidates the spy now supported.

We contacted the Arora campaign for comment. Arora’s campaign manager, Russ Rampersad, said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. We would never use a phrase like ‘union boss’ or any of that. Sam has always supported workers and their right to unionize.” Rampersad pointed out that he had served as a consultant to many labor organizations like LIUNA, SEIU 1199 Washington State, SEIU 775, UFCW 21, UFCW International, AFSCME Council 5 MN, Ohio Education Association, Washington State Labor Council, Minnesota DFL, Los Angeles Labor Council - AFL-CIO, Minnesota Regional Labor Federation, National Education Association, California Teachers Association and others. But here’s the thing: our spy is not only extremely intelligent, but he is utterly non-aligned. Simply put, he has no reason to lie. We are willing to bet his recollection is fairly close to the truth.

This is not exactly a push poll since it is collecting data that may prove of use to Arora. But it’s interesting that he is testing an anti-union message, both broadly speaking and in specific reference to Bonnie Cullison, since Arora has been endorsed by Progressive Maryland.