Republican and Democratic-leaning groups plan big voter mobilization pushes for the Nov. 7 elections. The AFL-CIO, which primarily backs Democrats, said Aug. 30 it will spend $40 million on get-out-the-vote activity, up from $35 million in each of the last two mid-term elections.

For its part, the Republican National Committee will make a "significant investment in get-out-the- vote efforts" nationwide, says spokesman Josh Holmes. He would not specify how much the RNC will spend, but says the GOP strategy will be based on its plan for the 2004 presidential race.

The AFL-CIO's goal is to boost union members' turnout by at least 10 percentage points or 1.2 million votes over 2002 levels, says political director Karen Ackerman.