Offshore outsourcing fails as election issue

A longtime Democratic bludgeon isn’t enough to move needle

WASHINGTON - Democratic candidates clubbed their Republican opponents in two of this year's election campaigns about their offshore outsourcing records, but to no apparent help.

The Republicans won in both contests, the U.S. Senate race in Georgia and the gubernatorial contest in Massachusetts.

In Georgia, Republican and now Senator-elect David Perdue, handily defeated his Democratic opponent, Michelle Nunn. HIs margin was wide enough to avoid a runoff.

After Nunn hit Perdue's record on outsourcing, Perdue countered by saying he was proud of it. Perdue collected 53% of the vote to Nunn's 45%.

As a senator, Perdue also said he will support expanding the H-1B visa program.

In Massachusetts, Republican Charlie Baker (and now governor-elect), had to explain himself after Democratic challenger Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general, pointed to a 2008 photograph by an industry group showing Baker holding an "Outsourcing Excellence Award."

Baker, former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health, outsourced some operations to Perot Systems, which was acquired by Dell in 2009. Coakley accused Baker of sending jobs to India, something Baker denied.

On Tuesday, Baker received 48.46% of the vote versus 46.59% for Coakley. And that's in a state generally considered to be a Democratic stronghold.

While outsourcing was an ongoing theme in both contests, it's now clear how the issue resonated with voters and whether it mattered enough to swing any votes.

Democrats have long used offshore outsourcing as an issue nationally, accusing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of being an "outsourcing pioneer" in his failed 2012 bid against President Barack Obama.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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