The American Federation of Teachers will spend more during the 2014 mid-term election than ever before, including presidential elections.
The national teacher's union will focus its efforts on six conservative governors who targeted labor unions and cut public education funding, according to The Huffington Post. The AFT plans to spend more than $20 million to ouster Republican governors Rick Scott (Florida), Rick Snyder (Michigan), and Tom Corbett (Pennsylvania), and secure Democratic incumbents Dan Malloy (Connecticut) and Pat Quinn (Illinois).
The spending surge will "try to dial back some of the damage done by the cuts to public education and public services and elect people who will fight for kids, families and communities," AFT spokeswoman Kate Childs Graham told The Huffington Post.
The union has increased its spending every year 2008. It spent $15.3 million in 2008, $18.6 million in 2010 and $19.5 million in 2012, according to Graham.
In addition to the governor races, the AFT also wants to keep Democrats in control of the Senate. The group will help Rep. Gary Peters' Senate campaign in Michigan and keep Senators Mark Begich (Alaska) and Al Franken (Minnesota) in their seats.
AFT President Randi Weingarten called this year's election a "second act" for Republican governors voted in during the 2010 Tea Party swell.
"If Tom Corbett had gone to the electorate and said, 'I am going to cut $1 billion of public education,' do you think he would have been elected as governor? If Rick Scott had said, 'I'm going to go in and just cut education,' do you think he would have been elected governor?" Weingarten told reporters on Sept. 29. "What we're doing is basically not letting these guys run from their records."
The AFT chose those six specific states because their races are close and the group already has high membership in those areas. The group is not focused on adding new supporters during this election cycle.
"This election is about trying to make sure that political leadership does what they should do to create educational and economic opportunity and to promote democracy," Weingarten said.
The National Education Association, the nation's largest teacher's union, will spend between $40 and $60 million on this year's election. More than 70 percent will go toward state-level elections, NEA Political Director Karen White told BuzzFeed News.
"While we often expect education - and by extension, educators - to impact elections, this year we are seeing a perfect storm of sorts that puts education front and center in many key federal, state and local areas," White wrote in a memo to top NEA leaders, according to Buzzfeed News.
The NEA also has its eyes on the Pennsylvania and Florida governor races as well as Senate races in North Carolina, Alaska, Arkansas and Colorado.