CA15: California Labor Federation backs Corbett

It’s not so often that the California Democratic Party and the California Labor Federation end up on different sides of a Bay Area House race.

Ellen CorbettThe labor federation – made up of more than 1,200 AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions representing 2.1 million members – announced Thursday that it has endorsed state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, in the 15th Congressional District

The party endorsed incumbent Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, last month. Republican Hugh Bussell of Livermore also is in the race.

The labor federation announced this and dozens of other endorsements as its biennial pre-primary convention finished up in Oakland. In a news release, the federation said the endorsements are “the launching pad for the massive grassroots voter outreach efforts that will activate tens of thousands of volunteers from now until Election Day.”

Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski said the labor federation’s power “derives from workers coming together on nights and weekends to talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers about the importance of this year’s election. What our grassroots efforts lack in money we more than make up for in face-to-face voter engagement.”

That’s key for Corbett, who very much needs some institutional support to augment her campaign’s meager bankroll. Swalwell’s campaign started 2014 with four times as much money in the bank; consultant Lisa Tucker this week said he raised about $270,000 in this year’s first quarter, and had around $920,000 cash on hand as of March 31. Corbett has not yet disclosed her first-quarter fundraising; the deadline to do so is next Tuesday April 15.

Tucker said Swalwell was on a plane coming back from Washington, D.C., on Thursday afternoon, and she didn’t want to comment on the labor federation’s choice without speaking with him first.

Swalwell, Corbett and Bussell will share a stage for the first time at a League of Women Voters candidates’ forum at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday, April 15 in the Castro Valley Library, 3600 Norbridge Ave.

From the “no surprise” desk: The labor federation endorsed longtime friend to labor Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, in his bid for an eighth term, over Democratic challenger Ro Khanna and two Republicans in the 17th Congressional District.

In races for some of the Bay Area’s open legislative seats, the labor federation endorsed Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, in the 10th State Senate District; Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti in the 16th Assembly District; San Jose Councilman Kansen Chu in the 25th Assembly District; and Campbell Councilman Evan Low in the 28th Assembly District. The federation made a dual endorsement in the crowded 15th Assembly District race, backing both Elizabeth Echols and Tony Thurmond over three more Democrats and three additional candidates.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Guest

    These big labor unions were all enthusiastic backers of State Senator Leland Yee – up until recently . I recall reading last week Yee’s top campaign contributors were all big Sacramento based labor unions. Yee, apparently, wasn’t scoring enough dough off these labor unions so he decided to go into gun running, money laundering, and outright vote selling – all in an effort to better fill his campaign coffers.
    While all of these big labor unions were big fans of Leland Yee’s, none of the union leaders have called a press conference to announce that maybe they made a mistake sponsoring Yee all those years! The silence, out of labor, has been pretty deafening. I guess labor was hoping nobody noticed Yee was there number one guy in Sacramento!
    Now these same labor leaders want voters in the 15th district to dump Congressman Eric Swalwell – a reform orientated pro-labor ex-prosecutor – known for his penchant for ethics – and honesty – and replace him with this Ellen Corbett, who hails from the State Senate – a place many are calling a sewer, due to these weekly FBI raids going on. Boy, these labor leaders are just tone deaf. Do they read the papers? Who’s running the show at these big labor unions these days They tell us Pete Stark – at age 81 – was just the prefect guy for the 15h district two years ago, now they are telling us Ellen Corbett is the one to clean up Washington, even though the body she leads – as majority leader – is a cesspool of corruption. These labor union leaders need to have their heads examined, I think.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Big Labor owns Corbett, it doesn’t own Swalwell. Simple as that.