November 14th, 2007
08:01 AM ET
11 years ago

Democrats hoping to hit the union jackpot

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) – The key to winning the Nevada Democratic caucuses could hinge on the endorsement of a powerful Silver State union that represents 60,000 people who work in the state’s casinos.

Culinary Workers Union Local 226 is a must stop for the Democratic candidates whenever they come to town, and the presidential hopefuls are aggressively courting this influential organization.

“To win the Nevada caucuses, you have to get the union’s support,” said Jon Ralston, a non-partisan analyst considered the expert on Nevada politics.

Pilar Weiss, spokeswoman for the union, said it has had a total of 24 visits by Democratic candidates this year. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has dropped by six times; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards have each stopped in five times; Delaware Sen. Joe Biden and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton have each met with the union three times; and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich each visited with the organization once. If you add a visit by Clinton’s husband (former President Bill Clinton), and Obama’s call-in to the union’s radio show then the number increases to 26.

The union is intricately involved in helping organize the caucuses, an important early contest in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Nevada was chosen by the Democratic National Committee as one of four states sanctioned to hold a nominating contest prior to “Super Tuesday.” The caucuses will be held on January 19 and Super Tuesday will take place on February 5.

Weiss said there is no timeframe on making an endorsement but added, “It is not going to happen before Thanksgiving.”

That means the seven Democratic candidates at Thursday’s CNN/Nevada Democratic Party debate will have a prime opportunity to tout their union credentials. Right now, Ralston said the union is not leaning toward any one candidate. He said the organization wants to see if one of the candidates emerges as a frontrunner, and noted it would be “absolutely devastating” if the candidate the union backs loses the nomination.

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Jed in Texas

    How many of these voters will be Illegal aliens with false documents? We know how much Vegas loves cheap, and or slave type labor.First the Reps. stole 2 elections,now the Dems plan on stealing this one.Diebold voting machines can still beat them,just ask any slot machine operator or The Big Fix is in.Just watch the Vegas odds and see if you can make a buck or two and dont get your shorts in a bunch.If it makes you feel good go ahead and vote.

    November 14, 2007 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  2. Daniel, NY

    A new poll of the Nevada caucuses were just released yesterday - and has Clinton convincingly ahead. Giuliani and Romney are close in the GOP side. link and full numbers.

    November 14, 2007 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  3. J Houston, TX

    Democrats aim at the ignorant and corrupt. Big surprise. Didn't we determine unions already destroyed thier own future by placing too many demands on the manufacturing industry in the US?

    November 14, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. Daniel, NY

    A poll of the Nevada caucuses was released on Monday, and it has Clinton dominating the field, and Edwards weaker than expected. Link.

    November 14, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. Robin B, Pittsburgh, PA.

    I've lost faith in unions, since joining one in 2000. They strongarm their members, use our membership dues to court big government politicians, and bully people . The job security is awesome, but the way we go about getting it is bankrupting our companies, as seen in the auto industry. The bad they do outweighs the good.

    November 14, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Lawdog90

    Some unions are doing a decent job of flexing what muscle they have to make the candidates earn their endorsements. Others are so timid and weak that, rather than endorse a champion for their causes, they would rather wait to endorse a candidate that is projected to win and ride that candidate's coat-tails. It is interesting watching the unions and learning which are the strong and weak ones. The true tests of the unions in the Democratic primary will be 1.) how visible they are on the streets, on the air, and on the web in campaigning for their candidate and then 2.) how strongly their visibility correlates to votes cast for their candidate. I hope some of our statistics experts are studying the various unions' effectiveness and will publish a study on the subject. Currently, as a whole, they look to be disorganized, indecisive, timid, strung-out, retrenched, and uncommitted to their own causes.

    November 14, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Phil San Filippo San Diego, Ca

    I find it sickening how the DEM candidates criticize 'Special Interests groups' blah blah blah but salivate over the possibility of Union endorsements! How stupid do these politicians think the American people are?!!

    November 14, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |