CORONADO, Calif. – The AFL-CIO, invigorated by a new alliance with the nation’s largest teachers union, said Monday that it would spend $40 million this year to elect labor-friendly candidates to Congress and statehouses. The AFL-CIO’s 2006 campaign war chest easily surpasses the $34 million that it spent in 2002, the last midterm election, though it falls short of the $48 million spent in the 2004 presidential election cycle. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called it “the largest and most aggressive grass-roots mobilization in a midterm election in our history.” The AFL-CIO will boost union turnout and promote candidates that share its agenda without direct contributions to their campaigns, officials said at the federation’s winter meeting of its policy-setting executive council in Coronado, outside San Diego. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The federation is targeting 21 battleground states, including California, Ohio, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado, Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota. The increased spending comes as the AFL-CIO prepares for its first election cycle since about a half-dozen unions split from the federation, complaining that it emphasized political campaigns over organizing unions. The AFL-CIO, an umbrella organization of more than 50 unions representing 9 million workers, lost more than one-fourth of its members in the rift that began in July 2005. Service Employees International Union, Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers, UNITE HERE, United Farm Workers and Carpenters left to join the Change to Win Coalition. Despite a decades-long decline in union membership, the AFL-CIO played a critical role in recent elections. Union households made up one-fourth of U.S. voters in 2000 and 2004 general elections, and almost as many in midterms. About six in 10 union households voted Democratic in the past two presidential elections. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!