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Union plans new political party to oust Kissell, other Democrats

North Carolina affiliates of the powerful Service Employees International Union are organizing to put a new political party on November's ballot. They hope to oust Democrats who voted against the health care bill. A few days before Congressman Larry Kissell voted against the health care measure in late March, Sheila Dogan and about two dozen union workers rallied outside his Concord office. Many of them had knocked on doors to help Kissell win in 2008. "If he vote 'No,'" Dogan yelled, "Then he better be prepared to kiss his house seat goodbye, because we gonna bring his butt back home!" The State Employees Association of North Carolina - with backing from the powerful Service Employees International Union - hopes to make good on that promise by putting a new union-backed political party on the ballot in November. "This group - North Carolina First - intends to make sure the next group that gets to Washington are going to watch out for working families and not for insurance company profits," explains North Carolina First spokesman Greg Rideout. The group must collect 85,000 signatures by June 1 to be a certified political party and get candidates on the ballot. Three of North Carolina's eight Democrats in Congress voted against the health care measure: Larry Kissell, Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre.