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Thursday, October 30, 2003


More feet on the street: SEIU to endorse Dean

posted by annatopia at Thursday, October 30, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
This is huge. Business Week has learned that the AFL-CIO's largest union is going to endorse Howard Dean on November 6. This comes on the heels of the IUPAT and CTA endorsements.
The SEIU's action, coming shortly after Dean won pledges from two small unions, the International Union of Painters and the California Teachers Assn., goes a long way toward completing the transformation of the former Vermont governor from a niche candidate backed by limousine liberals, antiwar activists, and tech-savvy young people into a mainstream candidate who can also connect with blue-collar America. Says SEIU President Andy Stern: "It's clear that Dean has gained the most support amongst our members and local leaders." The SEIU's move would effectively kill AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney's efforts to gather labor behind Dean rival Representative Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.).

This latest endorsement is certainly representative in a shift in our campaign. As the article states, these endorsements go a long way towards dispelling the notion that Dean supporters are white liberal elitists. This must also make Gephardt a bit more nervous, as he's fighting for his life in Iowa (a do-or-die state for his campaign). Mark my words, Gephardt will strike against us even harder than before in an effort to sway the AFSCME his way. With that in mind:
He could get an even bigger boost if the 1.3-million member American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees swings behind him. AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee considered backing Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), then flirted with retired General Wesley Clark. But insiders say Clark's early missteps soured McEntee, who was the first major union leader to back Bill Clinton in 1992 and who wants to play kingmaker again. McEntee was miffed when Clark decided not to campaign actively in Iowa, where AFSCME's 28,000 members spread across all 99 counties could make a crucial difference in the Jan. 19 caucuses. Now, AFSCME is seriously considering Dean, as are several other unions, including the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, insiders say.

Dean for America now has the backing of over 1,775,000 union members nationwide. Add that to the 481,000 online supporters and what do you have? 2,256,000 Americans for Dean.

UPDATE (Aziz) - Kos had the rumor that SEIU would endorse Dean last week - and also made a prediction that the AFSCME would wait a while yet:

AFSCME is a tougher case to figure at this point--except that they will certainly do something different from SEIU, given the rivalry between these two giants. McEntee wants a "winner" and has always thought that the war hero credential would be crucial in this cycle. He is also not impressed with Dean. But both Kerry and Clark continue to stumble. Kerry numbers have not picked up in New Hampshire, except for that one anomalous poll--I think he's about out of time with AFSCME. I think AFSCME will delay their endorsement as long as possible, to give Clark more time to get his act together, but I don't think he has done enough to close the sale anytime soon. I could be wrong, but I'm thinking that SEIU endorses Dean in two weeks, but AFSCME waits things out for a bit, perhaps until the end of the year.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.