The Minnesota AFL-CIO has endorsed both Democratic candidates running in statewide election contests in 2014. The state chapter of the nationwide union will back Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken next year, following a vote taken by the general board on Tuesday afternoon.
The decision was hardly a surprise coming from the powerful union, which counts more than 300,000 members in this state.
Minnesota AFL-CIO president Shar Knutson said the reelection endorsements are based on Dayton’s and Franken’s record in office.
“As governor, Mark Dayton is working to build a better Minnesota through successful job creation strategies, restoring fairness to our tax system, strengthening education, and supporting the rights of working people to bargain collectively,” Knutson said.
As for Franken, Knutson pointed to his 98 percent voting record in favor of the AFL-CIO’s position as evidence that the first-term Democrat is a strong supporter of labor issues. That mark ties Franken for the fourth-highest career rating from the national union. During 2012, the AFL-CIO scored Franken as a perfect 11-for-11 on votes it tracked, including one vote in favor of increased transportation infrastructure spending, and another in support of a tax increase on incomes in excess of $1 million.
In Dayton’s case, it is the second time that he has cinched up a union endorsement that he originally failed to land in 2010, following last week’s announcement from the Education Minnesota teachers union. The educators group sided with then-House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher in 2010, and the local AFL-CIO eventually decided not to endorse a DFL candidate before the primary. Both unions eventually came around to back Dayton in his contest against Republican Tom Emmer, whose campaign was vehemently opposed by organized labor.
Also on Tuesday, the Minnesota AFL-CIO announced its endorsement in a trio of congressional races. DFL U.S. Reps. Rick Nolan, Tim Walz and Keith Ellison all received the official nod from the general board; each of those three are repeat endorsements from 2012.