With Bain's #Sensata closing plant, tech gets its moment in campaign spotlight

I’ve been thinking recently about how tech and the Internet have been almost completely absent from this campaign. It’s tragic and a missed opportunity for both campaigns.

But now, tech is stepping into the spotlight, though not necessarily in the way boosters may have wanted. The story has to do with a tech manufacturing plant in Illinois owned by a company called Sensata.

Sensata used to be part of Texas Instruments and made various types of sensors. That part of the business was broken off in 2006 and is now owned by…Bain Capital! From Sensor Magazine:

“One of January’s biggest news stories announced that Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) had agreed to sell its Sensors & Controls business to Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm, for $3.0 billion in cash. That portion of TI supplied engineered sensors and controls to the appliance, climate control, industrial, automotive, lighting, and aircraft markets. Its annual revenue topped $1 billion, and the business employed about 5,400 people worldwide.”

Yes, the same Bain where candidate Mitt Romney used to work. The company went public in 2010, but Bain still holds 51.8 percent of the stock.

Now, at possibly the worst possible moment for Romney, Sensata has decided to close their factory in Freeport, Il. and ships the jobs to…China! Talk about awkward!

It should be no surprise the Democrats are trying to make a campaign issue out of it. The 130 workers who will lose their jobs were required to train their Chinese replacements. And now those Sensata workers are asking Romney to help them save their jobs:

Don’t expect him to be showing his face there any time soon. If he does, he’ll find hostile images like this: (via Daily Kos)

Photo by Wendi Kent of Daily Kos

Will this type of issue resonate with mainstream voters? Will it have much impact on Romney? Or will it just blow over?