Fizz has been obsessing over labor endorsements as they've been coming in union by union over the last several weeks in the runup to this past weekend's Washington State Labor Council omnibus endorsement meeting representing 400,000 affiliated union members. In a batch of crowded and competitive Democratic intramurals—such as the 1st Congressional District and the 36th Legislative District—seeing who has the resume and organizing chops to win the endorsement from the most powerful organizers themselves is a bona fide litmus test.
Some newsworthy results:
1. In the group of Democrats running in the 1st Congressional District—from conservative Democratic state Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-44, Lake Stevens) to former netroots progressive star Darcy Burner—the WSLC gave its sole endorsement to middle-of-the-roader, former state Dept. of Revenue head Suzan DelBene this weekend, which now officially makes DelBene the frontrunner among the five Democrats.
"The crowd of Democratic candidates in the 1st Congressional District was easily whittled down by the sole endorsement of Suzan DelBene," WSLC spokeswoman Kathy Cummings said.
2. In a huge victory for upstart candidate Sylvester Cann, an education policy analyst and former aide to late state Sen. Scott White, the WSLC handed out a dual endorsement, putting Cann on par with the incumbent, state Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-46, N. Seattle).
Cann works at a think tank called the Community Center for Education Results, headed up by former ed reformer Mary Jean Ryan—which has the potential to hurt Cann with the labor crowd. Saturday's vote goes a long way toward helping Cann.
3. Relative unknown, green jobs advocate Brett Phillips, continues to do surprisingly well in the crowded field of progressive Democrats competing to replace retiring state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36, Ballard). Phillips won a dual endorsement from the WSLC this weekend, splitting the prize with Progressive Majority leader Noel Frame.
But ultimately, Frame was Saturday's big winner. Add the WSLC endorsement to her other recent labor wins—scoring the machinists' endorsement and splitting the local UFCW endorsement (with Mike O'Brien aide Sahar Fathi), she can now claim more labor cred than her rivals, including Phillips, who surprised Frame by getting the sole recommendation from the King County Labor Council last month.
4. The traditional split between economic issues and social issues on the political left is now officially over: The hardhats came out for legalizing pot (R-502) and gay marriage (R-74). (George McGovern, your time has come.) This isn't a surprise in 2012, but it's worth pausing and acknowledging the official transition of issues once seen as elitist hippie concerns—to truly populist.
Here's the WSLC's statement on gay marriage:
Referendum 74, advocating marriage equality, was resoundingly endorsed by the labor body. This issue has become important to labor as it is seen as imperative to extending rights to workers who previously have faced discrimination.
5. Labor went with union plumber and door-to-door labor activist Dusty Hoerler in the crowded 46th District race to replace retiring state Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney (D-46, N. Seattle). Hoerler's win over longtime progressive activist Sarajane Siegfriedt and former Transportation Choices Coalition Director Jessyn Farrel isn't a surprise, but it's certainly a pain in the ass for those two better-known candidates.