So this news that my colleague Scott Lewis broke yesterday evening is a pretty big deal. If Steve Francis does indeed secure the endorsement of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, he will have lined up his first major institutional support. That means he’s no longer just one dude with a busy checkbook.
He’ll be one dude with a busy checkbook and the support of a union organization with about 120,000 members spread out through more than 110 unions.
It’s also interesting to see that the Labor Council is shopping a poll to its leaders to prove that Francis is viable. We don’t get too many reliable polls here in San Diego. The news organizations don’t sponsor any. (I’d love to. They’re expensive. We’re a nonprofit. Donate to us and we’ll try to get one going.) And anything else that comes out is usually leaked/pushed by a party with direct interest in the race, so we don’t get to see the questions and generally have reason to be suspicious. That’s why we’ve decided not to run them.
So, without those polls, it’s been really difficult to know where anyone stands right now. But the labor unions evidently see something they like.
The move would also be big for a couple of other reasons. First, Francis was a cookie-cutter fiscal conservative when he ran in 2005 and showed as little sympathy for labor unions as anyone in the race. Now, he’s trying to be labor’s darling. That kind of change of heart is the sort of thing that political strategists feed off of.
Secondly, as many readers have commented under Lewis’ post, it also would put Francis in an awkward position of basing his campaign around fighting special interests at the same time he’s nuzzling up to labor unions. But there’s no high-profile Democrat in the race, so Francis could be figuring that has more to win by trying to occupy that space than going head-to-head with Sanders for the Republican base.
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