AFL-CIO endorses Metzger, Skoufis in Senate races (updated)

The New York State AFL-CIO backed Democratic state Senate candidates Jen Metzger and James Skoufis in a slew of endorsements made at a convention of more than 1,000 union delegates in New York City on Tuesday.

Metzger and Skoufis both hailed the endorsements in press releases on Wednesday. “Hard working men and women deserve a fair and livable wage, guaranteed healthcare, and a government that is accountable to them—not corporate donors,” said Metzger, a Rosendale town councilwoman running for the 42nd District seat that retiring Sen. John Bonacic is vacating. “I am proud to stand arm in arm with my brothers and sisters in organized labor to fight for the rights of working people.”

Skoufis, an assemblyman from Woodbury and candidate for the 39th District seat that Sen. Bill Larkin is leaving, said the AFL-CIO’s “unions and members in our community play a vital role in keeping our economy moving forward and leveling the playing field for the middle-class. I’ll be the champion that working families deserve in the State Senate because they deserve nothing less.”

The state AFL-CIO is an affiliation of about 3,000 unions in the public and private sectors and building trades. Most of the state and federal candidates endorsed on Tuesday were Democrats, although delegates did support some Republicans – including 14 Senate candidates – and made no endorsements in some races. Skoufis, who’s competing with Stony Point Councilman Tom Basile for the 39th District seat, noted in his release that the AFL-CIO endorsed Larkin, a Republican, in the last election.

Metzger is competing with Minisink environmental activist Pramilla Malick in a Democratic primary for the 42nd District on Sept. 13. The winner will face Orange County Clerk Annie Rabbitt, a Republican, in the general election.

(Update: Malick said in response to this post that she told the AFL-CIO she wouldn’t seek their endorsement because she didn’t think it was “informative or appropriate” for the primary. “I believe voters should chose a candidate based on their record and values,” she said in a statement. “Endorsements, especially by very powerful interest groups, at this stage of the process only serve to ensure that candidates are selected rather than elected.”)

The AFL-CIO also endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo over Democratic challenger Cynthia Nixon and attorney general candidate Letitia James over three rival Democrats, including Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. The AFL-CIO held off on making an endorsement in the 18th Congressional District – Maloney’s seat – until after the Sept. 13 primary. Democrats will have to substitute another candidate for Maloney in the 18th District race if he wins the attorney general primary.

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