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AFL-CIO Endorses O'Malley, Cardin

Governor

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's campaign for governor secured an unusually early and lopsided endorsement today from Maryland's largest labor organization.

A committee of the Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO, which claims nearly 300,000 members, voted 52-11 to back O'Malley (D) over Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan (D), who had lobbied hard for the endorsement.

The union's committee also gave its nod to Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D). The committee voted 48-16 to back the Baltimore-area lawmaker over former congressman and NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume.

None of the other candidates in the crowded Senate field received votes.

Fred Mason, the union's president, said the AFL-CIO decided to endorse O'Malley more than six months before the Democratic primary because Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) "has not been particularly good on working families issues, and we don't expect that to change. We were looking for an alternative, and we had to make a hard choice."

O'Malley, whose campaign announced the news to supporters under the header "Momentum Alert," said in an interview that he considered the endorsement "the most important one of the entire campaign."

"I think what the AFL-CIO saw in this candidacy was an opportunity to get the governor's office back on the side of working families," O'Malley said.

Duncan campaign manager Scott Arceneaux dismissed the vote, saying "as expected, a group of political insiders--heavily weighted with Baltimore Regional unions-- went with the insider's choice for Governor."

We, on other hand , subscribe to the novel view that campaigns are about issues and records and that one's past record is a good indication of how they will govern in the future. Voters will have the opportunity to view the records of the two Democratic candidates for Governor, look at the promises they have made and the promises they have kept, and when they do, Doug Duncan will be the clear choice."

Mason said the choice of a Senate candidate was also difficult.

John Wagner

"There has not been a better U.S. senator than Paul Sarbanes," he said. "We had to make a hard choice between two individuals who had excellent voting records on our issues."

By Phyllis Jordan  |  February 28, 2006; 4:29 PM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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