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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Powerful Labor Union Endorses Quinn As Most Liberal Democratic Candidate

One of the city’s largest and most powerful labor unions, The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced their endorsement of Christine C. Quinn, for mayor, David Chen reports in the NY Times.

The retail workers’ union, which has 45,000 members, has traditionally backed the most liberal candidates in elections, backing Thompson in 2009 over Mayor Bloomberg. While this is a boost to Quinn's campaign, it is also a disappointment to the de Blasio campaign, days after Public Advocate Bill de Blasio described himself as a progressive alternative to the "elitist" administration in City Hall at his mayoral announcement, Azi Paybarah notes.

Yet, despite the setback, de Blasio would benefit most from the backing of labor Union, because Ms. Quinn has the support of many business and pro-Bloomberg Democrats, David W. Chen emphasizes.

In an interview with the NY times, Stuart Appelbaum, the union’s president, cited Ms. Quinn’s “electability” in a year when the Democratic nominee is expected to face a robust Republican nominee in the general election. 

 “Chris has shown not just that she is a progressive candidate, but that she is a progressive candidate who knows how to use the levers of government,” Mr. Appelbaum said. “We just can’t be complacent and put up anyone as the Democratic standard-bearer. She provides the best vehicle for progressives for the first time in 20 years.”

"She's not Bloomberg," Appelbaum said. “She sees it as her responsibility to make sure it’s done in the appropriate way, instead of just looking to create a political issue that can be used in a mayoral campaign,” Appelbaum added. “I feel comfortable with her.”

Responding to the endorsement, Ms. Quinn said that she was “thrilled” because “Stu is one of the leading progressive Democratic voices,” and that, if elected, she looked forward to a “real partnership” that would create “a powerful one-two punch for working men and women.” She added that “if Stu Appelbaum thinks I am the best candidate to go toe-to-toe against the Republicans, I’m incredibly honored by that assessment.” “I take that as a huge Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” she said.

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