Labor split on DFL gubernatorial endorsements; AFSCME nod to Dayton complicates it more

Labor unions, whose endorsements often play a key role in state DFL politics by providing money and volunteers to the candidates they bless, are all over the map on the 2010 governor’s race, says the Assciated Press’ Brian Bakst.

That wide-spread support dissipated even further on Saturday when AFSMCE 5 endorsed former Sen. Mark Dayton.

The nod to Dayton was seen as “a huge feather in the cap for Dayton, who is seen as something of an outsider despite being a one-term U.S. Senator,” said the Pioneer Press’ A Political Animal blog:

AFSCME president Eliot Seide said the group deliberated for 3 1/2 hours today before reaching its decision. Interviews were held today at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront in St. Paul.

Seide said AFSCME liked Dayton’s plans to make the wealthiest Minnesotans pay more in taxes to help out the state’s finances. “It’s our opinion that Mark Dayton will make Minnesota work again,” Seide said.

Seide also said he wasn’t bothered by Dayton’s pledge to ignore the DFL endorsement and continue his campaign until at least the primary. Seide pointed out that it’s been 40 years since a DFL endorsee won — Rudy Perpich, the last DFL governor, ran without the endorsement.

The positions of other unions so far, according to the Pioneer Press:

  • Education Minnesota, a union that represents the state’s teachers, evaluated the candidates earlier this month and put off a decision until December at the earliest.
  • The Service Employees International Union, which backed Hatch early and ardently in 2006, is waiting until next year to weigh in on this race. “We want to give it a little more time to see who the best candidate is,” SEIU’s Javier Morillo said. “My mantra on this is we care far too much about winning to be able to afford to fall in love.”
  • The North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters was the first to take sides when it backed state Sen. Tom Bakk, a retired carpenter and union official.
  • The Teamsters Local 120 mentioned Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s prominent role in President Barack Obama’s Minnesota campaign in its endorsement [even though Rybak hasn’t yet officially declared.]
  • The Minnesota Nurses Association said state Rep. Paul Thissen’s legislative work on health issues was key.

The paper notes that many candidates hold key posts in the Legislature, putting the the unions in a tricky spot because they risk alienating candidates who are passed over.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Marsha Cressy on 10/27/2009 - 09:29 am.

    I would hope that AFSCME leadership would have placed more importance on what AFSCME membership need to be winners in the governors race. A governor that will work for AFSCME members and all Minnesotans overall benefit. Minnesotans have been the BIG LOOSERs in the splintered divisive political gamemanship that Republicans keep behind closed doors. We can not afford this same old loosing way,step up for what is right,based on who can unite and represent working Minnesotans values (including those working Minnesotans who are out of a job under Republican Administration)

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