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NC union comes up short on 3rd party effort

A union-backed group called North Carolina Families First has abandoned its effort to get a 3rd party on the state ballot in November. Members of the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, needed to collect 86,000 signatures in order to put their own progressive political party on the North Carolina ballot. But spokesman Greg Rideout says they fell short, but still hope to put an independent candidate on the ballot in the 8th District. "So voters there will have a good choice," says Rideout. To do that, the group will have to collect 17,000 signatures from voters in the 8th District. The SEIU is particularly upset with that district's Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell who voted against the health care overhaul bill. SEIU board member Dana Cope says they hope to recruit a former Kissell staffer named Wendell Fant to run against the congressman. Cope says the SEIU has already spent nearly $1 million on the 3rd party effort and still hopes to get on the ballot statewide in 2012.