Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) is facing another hurdle in his third-term reelection bid for California’s 7th Congressional District.
The 2.1 million-member California Labor Federation, which has backed Bera in the past, has refused to endorse the Elk Grove Democrat over his decision to back President Barack Obama’s controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
The TPP has been rejected by big labor, as well as by some conservatives.
According to the Sacramento Bee, most of the candidates the Federation endorsed on Wednesday are Democrats and include Attorney General Kamala Harris in her bid for outgoing U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat.
Labor unions suggest TPS will take jobs away from Americans in the face of an increasingly globalized marketplace. A recent study has shown that a majority of Americans would prefer having an American-owned factory that employs 1,000 people over a Chinese-owned one that would employ closer to 2,000.
The 7th district turned out to be one of the most expensive races during the 2014 election. A report released by the Los Angles Times shows that Bera was among several California congressional leaders to use the most taxpayer funds for the purpose of communicating with constituents through mailers. (In total, California’s congressional delegation spent $3 million in taxpayer money last year, notes the Times.)
Bera spent $190,089 in mailings and other communications, placing him second to Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), who spent $204,139 on a practice referred to as franking, which involves sending congressional communications to constituents at taxpayer expense.
Both defended the mailings telling the Times, this is “exactly what we should be doing.” Knight also expressed his support of the action reportedly saying “We make a serious effort to communicate” and “any office reacts to what a community wants, so we want to know what the community wants.”
The other top franking spenders were reportedly Democratic Reps. Norma Torres ($184,867), Mark DeSaulnier ($170,219), and Brad Sherman ($159,825).
Bera, a physician by trade, is competing against Republican Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz