Meanwhile, it's expected that labor's ground operations, which have been energized this year by big battles in Ohio and Wisconsin against GOP-led attempts to curtail public unions, could be more formidable.
At the AFL-CIO, the "lion's share" of its spending will be for voter registration, grassroots mobilization and get-out-the-vote campaigns, said Hauser, who is in charge of political communication.
"Our focus is going to be overwhelmingly on voter mobilization," Hauser added.
The 2010 court rulings that gave birth to super PACs also allow unions to dispatch their foot soldiers to talk to non-union members, not just fellow rank and filers.
And the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees will reportedly spend $100 million this year on its electoral efforts, including hefty voter mobilization drives.
Likewise, a few liberal powerhouses are pouring big bucks into their ground drives -_ perhaps partly to make up for the demise in 2010 of the controversial community organizing group ACORN, which boasted in 2008 that it registered more than 1 million voters.
This year, the liberal-leaning Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in tandem with its state affiliates, has initiated a multimillion-dollar voter registration campaign, said Jordan Fitzgerald, the group's director of field and electoral operations.
Overall, Planned Parenthood hopes to register hundreds of thousands of new women voters in seven states, including Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia, she said. The registration drive is being run by the group's educational and advocacy arm and is "on a much larger scale than in the past," Fitzgerald explained.
Further, the group expects to mount a large turnout campaign in 12 to 15 states, Fitzgerald added.
Similarly, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is launching its first voter registration effort, said Navin Nayak, the group's political chief. It will be a multimillion-dollar campaign focusing on 20 states including California, North Carolina and Texas, he said.
Further, the league will conduct a voter turnout program in six to eight states (through another nonprofit arm) that will be "much larger" than the $5.5 million which the league spent in 2010 on similar efforts, Nayak said.
The league is "going to focus on early voting and getting people to vote by mail," Nayak explained. "This will be a closely fought election and running major field operations will be critical to winning."
(The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit center for investigative journalism.)
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