New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, who is seeking the Democratic endorsement this Saturday at the state Democratic convention, secured the support of the state’s largest AFL-CIO union, AFSCME Council 4.DeStefano welcomed the endorsement Monday at a press conference at the state Capitol. The endorsement means DeStefano has locked up all the support of the 40 major state unions, which represent approximately 140,000 families in the state. Since 1986 union support has been split. DeStefano said this is the first time in four elections that all the major state unions have supported one candidate in the race for governor.
In 1990 the Service Employees International Union supported former Gov. Lowell Weicker, in 1994 the state police union supported former Gov. John G. Rowland, and in 1998 and 2002 again some of the small building trade unions supported Rowland, DeStefano recalled. And never have all the unions “stood together this early in the campaign behind one candidate,” he said. The endorsement will give DeStefano momentum heading into the state convention Saturday, May 20. DeStefano’s Democratic opponent, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy received some union support, but it pales in size and breadth to DeStefano’s. Why didn’t AFSCME Council 4 support Malloy?Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano, said Monday that “in terms of empathy John understands what working people in the state are facing.” Both DeStefano and Malloy’s campaign platforms include health care, energy, working families, and job growth. Ideologically the two aren’t far apart, one high school student pointed out two weeks ago at the end of a Malloy campaign bus tour. However, Malloy’s “style shows much more promise in being able to defeat,” Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell in November, the student, Sam Ritter, observed.Both DeStefano and Malloy are expected to easily get 15 percent of the delegates to qualify for the August primary, the first for the Democrats since 1994 when Bill Curry lost to GOP winner John Rowland by 40,000 votes in a three-way race.