Connecticut’s Democratic Party establishment flocked to U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman’s side today at a labor endorsement rally in Hartford. Their message, unsurprisingly, called for party unity and tried to paint primary challenger Ned Lamont as an outsider, though they never mentioned Lamont by name. Significant among Lieberman’s union endorsements: UNITE-HERE, a 7,000 member left-wing union with a solid reputation for doorknocking during elections.
“I have a different stance than Joe on the war,” said Robert Proto, President of UNITE-HERE Local 35 in New Haven. “It’s clear many of our folks don’t think the direction we’re taking [in Iraq] is right, especially because we have no concrete exit plan. But our culture is to endorse folks who have stood side by side with us.” (Levine)
Lieberman stood with UNITE-HERE during strikes at Yale, and it's paying off for him. Union members may disagree with his stance on the war, but apparently loyalty matters.
Can Lamont win without labor support?
Swan denied Lieberman’s event puts pressure on his campaign to come out with their own labor endorsements, because they haven't yet announced Lamont is running.
“We understood going in that many of the institutional players in the Democratic Party and organized labor will need to stick with Joe,” Swan said. (Levine)
Lieberman's trying to make sure Lamont's campaign is stillborn. Labor provides a ready-made field organization that Democrats have used for decades to get out the vote and spread their message.
Of course, even one union endorsement (the SEIU, for example) would legitimize Lamont's campaign and raise his chances. We'll see if he can pick one up.
Levine, Dan. "Lieberman's Labor Love Fest." CT News Junkie 23 February, 2006.