There were no surprises Tuesday when the AFL-CIO, a labor federation that represents 225,000 union members, released its list of political endorsements.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Malloy and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is running for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s vacated seat, were unanimously endorsed.
Both Malloy and Blumenthal addressed the convention Monday, in addition to Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, who knew he wouldn’t be getting the nomination, but accepted the invitation to speak. Union officials say Linda McMahon, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, was invited to speak, but her campaign says they never received the invitation.
The vote for Malloy from the more than 400 union delegates was unanimous.
Unlike four years ago it seems like support for Malloy, the winner of the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, is unified, Leo Canty, executive secretary of the AFL-CIO, said Tuesday.
Canty, who supported Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary, said four years ago when New Haven Mayor John DeStefano beat Malloy in the Democratic primary, support for DeStefano was polarized, which contributed to Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s ability to win that year by a wide margin.
That polarization is one of the reasons the two biggest unions that are part of the AFL-CIO decided to withhold their support until after the primary, Canty said.
Canty, who is also a member of AFT-CT, said his union was divided in their support for Malloy and Lamont, the other Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
“I think we learned our lesson four years ago,” Canty said.
Foley’s speech may have also helped provide delegates with a “good contrast,” Canty, said.
“It’s wonderful he came to talk to us,” Canty said. However, it was clear he didn’t understand the needs of working families.
While Foley talked about job creation, Canty said he didn’t talk about what kinds of jobs he will be creating. If he means more jobs at McDonald’s and Wal-Mart then that’s not going to help families pay the bills and it’s not going to get the state moving again, Canty added.
And if he wants to move toward a 401K type pension, instead of the defined benefit plan already offered to many state employees, then more people will be joining the welfare rolls because they won’t be able to survive in retirement on their 401K, Canty concluded.
Malloy told union delegations Monday that last week’s victory will “mean nothing at all if we don’t elect a Democrat,” in November.
Malloy’s message to delegates was more political, while Foley focused on finding common ground.
“What I mean by common ground is that we all share a common purpose of creating and preserving jobs in Connecticut,” Foley told delegates Monday. He went on to talk about how government prevents entrepreneurship and job growth in the state.
“We simply have a government structure right now that is no longer affordable given today’s circumstances,” Foley said. “First and foremost, we need to reduce the size and cost of our state government. We simply cannot afford to keep doing what we‘re doing.”