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Union-Funded GOP Super PAC on TV for Meehan, Murphy

Murphy, left, and Meehan

A super PAC aimed at boosting the number of pro-union members of the Republican caucus is lending a hand to two labor-friendly Pa. Congressman. The Lunch Pail Republicans will air television ads touting the work of Reps. Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) and Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny).

“The first thing you learn in politics is you learn how to count, and there are Republicans that actually know that people that are their constituents work for a living,” said Jim Sullivan. He’s the Chairman of the Lunch Pail Republicans Independent Expenditure Committee.

“They need good wages and benefits so they can actually survive and stay in the middle class, and they go along with our issues.”

“Not all Republicans are wackos,” he added.

The group was formed in March as part of an effort to combat a proposed Right to Work law in Indiana. The group expanded its focus nationally shortly thereafter, said Sullivan.

According to the most recent info from, the only sources for its funding are PACs affiliated with the International Union of Operating Engineers totalling about $125,000. They’re spending $35,000 a piece for Meehan and Murphy – a relative drop in the bucket in the big Philadelphia and Pittsburgh media markets, but a good bragging point for two incumbents in moderate districts.

Update: The ads, which are both positive, are in production. PoliticsPA will update this story with the ads when we obtain them.

It’s part of a national buy to boost 14 swing district Republicans facing top tier Democratic candidates. Except for Larry Maggi, the Democrat running against Murphy, all of the challengers appear to be listed on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” list.

Labor groups typically align with Democrats, but Sullivan says exceptions are in order.

“You can look at some of the votes that have taken place concerning Davis-Bacon and PLAs [project labor agreements]. We have 46 Republicans in that caucus support us. What, are we gonna turn our backs on ‘em just because Democrats are supposedly the savior of labor?” Sullivan asked.

The way an elected official interacts with his or her local unions is just as important as voting record. Both Meehan and Murphy get along with them well.

Meehan, a freshman, has gotten along well with the labor groups in his southeast Pa. district. He helped to craft a deal between business and labor that kept a long-standing local refinery – and thousands of related jobs – in Delaware County. As a result, he has the backing of a big SEPA labor group.

Murphy’s strong labor ties actually became a liability for the five-term Congressman earlier this year when he faced a primary challenge from Evan Feinberg. Feinberg repeatedly hammered Murphy’s vote for the Employee Free Choice Act and his positive vote ratings from labor groups. Murphy has also vocally supported laws to crack down on what he says says are egregious violations of trade law violations by the Chinese – another labor priority.

The AFL-CIO endorsed 14 of 17 Democratic candidates for Congress in Pa. and declined to endorse in the other races. The three Republicans who the state’s largest labor union left alone? Meehan, Murphy, and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Blair).

Both Maggi and George Badey, the attorney challenging Meehan, say they’re very happy with the labor support they’ve received so far and dismissed the super PAC.

“This outside group doesn’t represent Pennsylvania, it doesn’t even advocate for Pennsylvania,” wrote Maggi in an email to supporters. “Want to know where they’re based? Indiana. Further proof that Tim Murphy is so out of touch with this district, that he can’t even get the support from the people of Southwest PA.

Pat McGarrity, Badey’s Campaign Manager, added that Meehan is no friend to labor.

“Pat Meehan signed a pledge to keep tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs to places like India and China, and he voted to end Medicare as we know it,” he said. “This group isn’t from around here so maybe they don’t know his record, but Pat Meehan is no friend to working families. Let’s call this what it is: It’s a blatant attempt by out-of-state special interest money to come in and whitewash Meehan’s disgrace of a voting record.”

Update: Pa. Democratic Party spokesman James Hallinan chimed in, too.

“Congressman Tim Murphy and Congressman Pat Meehan’s votes don’t lie, they’re both clearly anti-working families voting twice for the Ryan budget plan that would make workers pay more for their retirement. However, they are both very pro-outsourcing of Pennsylvania jobs to places overseas– and even use Pennsylvanians’ tax dollars to do so,” he said.

10 Responses

  1. How does Meehan’s overall voting record show any interest in the welfare of “lunchpail” folks?He is a rightwing republican people-only the “job creators” have any influence with him.
    He won’t even hold a townhall or participate in a debate because he was so roundly BOOOED when he tried it last year.

  2. Bradley Komar is Larry Maggi’s henchman on loan from Obama campaign who plays in the gutter just like Larry. The Obama /Maggi campaign Team and their Chicago style politics will say disgusting things about Congressman Murphy and his staff, about his female staff, but then turn around and talk about the republican War on Women. Komar isn’t from here so he doesn’t care , he’ll just wrap up when Larry loses and go back on Obama’s payroll. You don’t belong here – go back to Washington DC and get a skinny latte and sushi with your boss David Axelrod.

  3. Great article! It’s so great to see independent minded candidates being recognized for their hard work. Pat Meehan and Tim Murphy have worked so hard on behalf of their constituents, as opposed to their party. Labor understands this and is acknowledging it. These two men are helping break down the bitter partisan wall brick by brick and are willing to say that their position is to serve their constituents, all of their constituents.

  4. Time to expose these tasteless individuals. All these disgusting uneducated posts against Maggi are actually coming from a campaign staff member named Tyler. This is the type of campaign Murphy runs….nasty and full of lies! Nothing that he posts are honest, it’s sad we have a congressman that would stoop to this level! I’m ashamed!

  5. Lunch Pail Republicans. Love it. great to see a group that will stand up for Republicans who actually know what its like to work for a living. Nothing wrong with supporting the workbelt guys and gals who work hard everyday to put food on the table. Congrats to Murphy and Meehan.

  6. Millionaire Maggi’s campaign plan: (1) Shake down county workers and contractors for donations (2) Loan himself half-a-million dollars from county funds (3) Insult Republicans and Democrats in campaign ads (4)Criticize labor for supporting thier allies and not giving him $$$ (5) keep collecting a big fat paycheck from his no-show county gig that he JUSt got elected to a couple months ago and is already out campaigning for another job (6) help his republican commissioner lady friend do the same (7) tell repubs he’s a conservative and tell dems he’s a liberal (8) ribbon cuttings and lunch buffets

  7. The Dem opponents are so pissed that these Repubs are getting “their” money! Hahahaha! Just because you have a D next to your name doesn’t mean you get all the building trades support. Well done, Meehan and Murphy. Hope you remind the blue collar labor voters that your opponents are against MADE in the USA construction jobs! Not all republicans are wackos.

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