Edwards nabbed several SEIU chapters' endorsements Monday. The Illinois SEIU announced it was backing Obama.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – In the wake of the Service Employees International Union’s decision not to unite behind one candidate on a nationwide level, two Democratic presidential hopefuls began picking up endorsements from the major labor union's state branches on Monday.
Once a state branch officially backs a presidential contender, its members can only campaign for that candidate within their own state and in others that choose the same candidate.
A national SEIU nod would have been a huge boost for Edwards, who has fought especially hard for union support. His campaign manager, David Bonior, called the Iowa branch’s endorsement a "big, big victory" for the campaign.
"Make no mistake about it. Everybody tried very hard to get this endorsement, and we will have by far the most," Bonior said. "The other two major candidates in this race will not come close to us in competing and getting the endorsements of members of the Service Employees International Union."
Edwards' campaign said more endorsements will be announced as early as this afternoon.
Edwards' campaign announced the SEIU chapters from California, Washington, Michigan, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia and Oregon will also support his presidential bid.
- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich