Kirkpatrick, other freshmen Dems walking tightrope

The Hill:

Nearly a quarter of the House Democratic freshman class has not signed on to co-sponsor the controversial card-check bill, despite being showered with campaign contributions by organized labor.

Many of these Democrats represent battleground districts, and their reluctance to support the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) reflects worries it would affect their reelection in 2010. Business groups staunchly opposed to the bill campaigned against supporters in 2008.

But by not supporting the bill, which would make it easier for workers to forum unions, the freshmen risk alienating labor groups that could help them remain in Congress.

“Their decision not to co-sponsor raises an issue that will have to be addressed to their constituents,” said Bill Samuel, legislative director for the AFL-CIO. “It’s really between them and their local union members, many of whom walked precincts for them.”

The seven freshmen who did not sign their names to the bill represent some of the most competitive districts in the country.

Reps. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.), Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) and Parker Griffith (D-Ala.) all won with less than 52 percent of the vote. Reps. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.) and Tom Perriello (D-Va.) each required a recount to claim their seats. Only Reps. Glenn Nye (D-Va.) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) won by comfortable margins.

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