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Union Nod Goes to..No One

The Service Employees International Union, a group of almost two million workers whose endorsement all of the Democratic White House candidates had been courting, announced yesterday it would not issue a national endorsement, leaving local unions to issue their own primary preferences if they choose to do so.

While all the candidates sought the union's backing, the announcement is most damaging to former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, who had aggressively wooed the union and who had support of the majority of SEIU leadership, according to union sources. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spoke at the group's meeting last month and also spent a day with a union member, as part of a program designed to better understand the union members lives. Though neither Clinton nor Obama snagged the endorsement themselves, they had hoped to secure enough support within the SEIU ranks to block Edwards from getting the union's backing, which they succeeded in doing.

"Any one of these candidates would help create a new American dream for workers and their families," said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.

Edwards' aides argued that the union's decision would free local unions in key states to back candidates and that would help the former North Carolina Senator.
"It is a victory for the campaign as we now can mobilize the support from SEIU members," Edwards spokesman Eric Schultz said.

- Perry Bacon Jr.

By Washington Post editors  |  October 8, 2007; 7:11 PM ET
 
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