HTC for Schneiderman
The 80,000-member New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council (AKA as HTC) is the latest labor union to throw its weight behind Sen. Eric Schneiderman's AG bid, with union President Peter Ward saying the Manhattan Democrat "stands out as the clear choice to bring justice to the working people of this state."
"As a lawyer, lawmaker and activist, Eric has never wavered in his commitment to protecting consumers, working for quality jobs and taking on tough fights on behalf of the women and men of New York," Ward continued in a statement released by Schneiderman's campaign.
"Eric Schneiderman will be a smart, progressive Attorney General who will always stand up for what's right."
"This was a field of many good candidates, all of whom courted us assiduously. But in the end, Eric Schneiderman rose above the rest as someone who will be a fantastic Attorney General, and we are ready to activate our considerable resources and man-power to make that happen."
So, this is not entirely a shock, although I'm told the competition for HTC's nod was fierce, with both Assembylman Richard Brodsky (who fought for a labor nod in the public authorities reform bill) and Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice battling extremely hard for the endorsement.
In the end, however, Schneiderman's long-standing relationship with the progressive arm of the state's organized labor community carried the day. He has already landed the backing of SEIU/1199 and 32BJ, although Brodsky has the support of CWA (whose political director, Bob Master, is a WFP co-chair) and Rice has RWDSU in her corner.
(This is not shaping up to be a good day for Rice, who was a no-show at this morning's City Hall News debate. Hopefully, she'll show up for this one tonight).
All this combines to make a fractured WFP, although the heavyweights like 1199 were pushing early on for Schneiderman to get the labor party's nod. The WFP ended up taking a pass to please AG Andrew Cuomo, whom the party leaders very much hope will eventually overcome his reluctance and run on Row E this fall, increasing their chances of maintaining the line.
HTC is known for its aggressive and well-organized field operation, which was built up through the efforts of its political director, Neal Kwatra. If the WFP decides to sit out the Democratic AG primary, then the endorsements of unions with field ability - and that also includes 1199 and 32BJ - will be that much more important on Sept. 14.
The AG battle is going to be the highest-profile game in town for the September primary, and that's probably not going to serve as much of a draw for voters. A few highly competitive congressional races might draw some people to the polls (the fight to oust Rep. Charlie Rangel, for example, and the bid to bounce Rep. Carolyn Maloney).
It's a safe bet that turnout will probably be low, however, and if that is the case, field is going to be the name of the game. Whoever can turn out the most votes will most likely win. The HTC/WFP/1199 alliance proved itself pretty strong in the 2009 citywide races. It remains to be seen if that will translate in a statewide contest.