- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 8, 2016

The AFL-CIO on Thursday endorsed Rep. Keith Ellison’s bid to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Ellison is running against New Hampshire Democratic Chairman Raymond Buckley and South Carolina Chair Jaime Harrison — though the Minnesota congressman’s name was the only one to appear on an online ballot that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka circulated among members of the executive council.

Representative Ellison meets the high standard working people expect from leaders of our political parties,” Mr. Trumka said in a statement. “He is a proven leader who will focus on year-round grassroots organizing to deliver for working families across America. Under his leadership, the Democratic Party will embody the values that our members stand for every day.”

Of the 56 AFL-CIO union groups on the executive council, 26 threw their support behind Mr. Ellison, while seven said they should not make an endorsement at this time and two abstained.

The remaining 21 members did not return their ballots.

Harold A. Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, voted against an endorsement and said the final tally showed the groups are not unified around Mr. Ellison.

“Rushing the Federation’s vote for a DNC Chair endorsement was a major political miscalculation for the AFL-CIO,” Mr. Schaitberger said. “There is a faction at the Federation that seems to want to push our movement further and further to the left. That is a recipe for disaster as the most recent election results just showed and as we try to get things done in the next Congress and with the next president.”

The AFL-CIO political committee met last month with the three candidates running for the job.

Mr. Trumka later said it was clear from the discussions that Mr. Ellison was the best person for the job and circulated the internal straw poll that provided recipients with options of endorsing Mr. Ellison, making no endorsement at this time or abstaining from the vote.

Mr. Schaitberger said the ballot underscored Mr. Trumka’s bias toward Mr. Ellison.

The next DNC chair is scheduled to be elected at their February winter meeting in Atlanta.

Mr. Ellison announced publicly this week that he would leave his seat in Congress to serve at the DNC in a full-time capacity if he is elected.

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