March 23, 2012
No endorsement for governor in Democratic primary
The NC State AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE) met in Raleigh on Thursday, March 22 to review completed questionnaires and interview candidates for statewide office before making endorsements in the 2012 elections. COPE met with candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, and members of the Council of State, as well as candidates for the non-partisan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. COPE is composed of over 60 key labor leaders from every region of the state and every union sector.
First on the screening schedule were three Democratic candidates for Governor – current Lt. Governor Walter Dalton, state Rep. Bill Faison, and former Congressman Bob Etheridge.
Committee members were impressed with the experience and knowledge of working-family issues each candidate displayed. However, at the end of our process and after a lively debate, the committee was not able to reach the 2/3 vote required to make an endorsement in the 2012 Democratic primary for Governor. This result frees our affiliates to work for the candidate of their choice. The NC State AFL-CIO will revisit the issue of endorsing a candidate for Governor after the May 8 primary election.
COPE did recommend several endorsements in other statewide races, including the candidacy of Linda Coleman for Lt. Governor.
Coleman, herself a dues-paying member of the State Employee’s Association of North Carolina (SEANC) / SEIU Local 2008, has been a fighter for working people during her time in public office. Now more than ever, the people of North Carolina need leaders like Linda Coleman who value work over greed and who will go to work to protect the public good.
The NC State AFL-CIO also endorses Elaine Marshall for Secretary of State, Janet Cowell for State Treasurer, Beth Wood for State Auditor, June Atkinson for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Wayne Goodwin for Commissioner of Insurance, and Roy Cooper for Attorney General. Each of these current members of the Council of State received our endorsement in 2008.
After hearing from two candidates – John Brooks and Marlowe Foster – the committee decided not to endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary for Labor Commissioner.
In the non-partisan judicial races, the NC State AFL-CIO endorses Linda McGee, Wanda Bryant, and Cressie Thigpen for the Court of Appeals and Sam Ervin, IV for the Supreme Court.
What about the Republicans?
Union members – like workers generally – are not monolithic. Many union members are Democrats, but many are Republicans and some are unaffiliated with a political party. The AFL-CIO welcomes the opportunity to endorse moderate Republicans who are not hostile to the interests of working people, and we will decline to endorse Democrats who are.
This year as in years past, Republican candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, and the Council of State were also invited to complete a questionnaire and to interview before COPE, but none responded to the invitation.
Ultimately, we know that how individual members vote is a personal decision. We just want them and you to know that the candidates endorsed by the NC State AFL-CIO this week are – first and foremost – those who thought enough of organized working people in North Carolina to seek our endorsement.