October 15th, 2007
01:11 PM ET
15 years ago

Edwards, Obama pick up SEIU endorsements

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.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards announced the Iowa branch’s support, while Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, has won the official backing of the SEIU in both his home state and Indiana.

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

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa • John Edwards
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    Democratic hopeful Barack Obama picked up the endorsement Monday of the 170,000-member Illinois Service Employees International Union, a boost to the candidate's prospects in neighboring Iowa, whose caucuses kickoff the presidential nomination contest.

    October 15, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I guess starting off an acceptance speech by saying "rewarding all employees (even grossly underperforming ones) is not the American way – unions had their time and place – they are no longer needed....they are a leech on our society – and drag our school systems down" would be a poor way to accept a union endorsement....at what point will someone actually end this arcane process?? (all employees get the same percentage raise...and if there are layoffs....only the tenured ones stay...not based on effort?? OMG....thats pure communism..isn't it??)

    October 15, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Tim Freeney, Duncan, OK

    It is amazing that this article is filed under "Hillary Clinton, Iowa, John Edwards". What about Obama? The article doesn't even mention Clinton...Vote Obama!

    October 15, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. anon, new york, NY

    Union endorsements means not much to a canadidate. Gephardt received the most unions endorsements in the 2004 election, and he droped out of the race before the nomination date.

    October 15, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Betty Hooker, Greensboro, North Carolina

    In addition to the Iowa SEIU endorsement today, John Edwards campaign has announced nine more state SEIU endorsements: California with 656,000 members; Washington State; Michigan; Idaho; Montana; Minnesota; Ohio; West Virginia; and Oregon. In total, John Edwards picked up nearly one million SEIU members today! I am surprised that this is not a big headline for CNN. This is an exciting day for John Edwards supporters!

    October 15, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  6. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    I am hoping after the primaries begin and the winners become clear, that the state SEIU endorsements are redirected.

    I applaud former Senator Edwards' ability to gain so many union endorsements today. However, it does not appear he has a snowball's chance of becoming the nominee. And due to his unending Hillary bashing, he will probably NOT be the Vice-Presidential nominee either.

    The SEIU and their members are important to the Democratic Party, and to this country.

    I hope they are players in the general election.

    October 15, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. Daniel

    Clinton and Obama have been very successful at portraying this race as a two-way dogfight, also thanks to the tense back-and-forth that happened earlier this week. News like this that puts Edwards back on the map are CRUCIAL for his candidacy to go anywhere.

    October 15, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  8. SB

    Congratulations Barack Obama on this much deserved endorsement by the SEIU in Illinois and Indiana.

    You are indeed the best candidate that we have and I look forward to the day when the President of the United States is once again accountable to the American people.

    No federal lobbyist money, no PAC money, you know that you will work for the people of this country and we thank you.

    October 15, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  9. Betty Hooker, Greensboro, North Carolina

    Thanks CNN! Thanks for updating your original story on the Ticker to list the additional nine state SEIU organizations to endorse John Edwards today!

    October 15, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  10. Travis, Wilmington, NC

    Y'all who think unions are outdated are plain wrong. They may be for some areas, but us in the south are still grossly mistreated. There won't be a union movement again; but those from Connecticut (Chris from Middelton) might want to go to another part of the country and see how workers are treated before making statements. Union workers aren't a leech on society....and all workers are definitely not treated the same. At any rate, all of us are voting for Edwards (and he also leads in the NC primary)... so, go ahead and vote Clinton or Obama and throw the south and the election away to the Republicans once again in '08. Y'all have to quit overlooking the South. None of us are going to vote for a Yankee who moved to NY just to become a senator. Our boy was raised in the Carolinas, and has always lived here.

    October 16, 2007 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |