Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Endorsements in the news: labor unions, Cuban-American leaders

Joe Garcia and Annette Taddeo at a community candidates' forum Saturday -- empty chair for "no show" Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

(Belatedly cross-posting this from Miami-Dade Dems dated July 1.)

Chapter I: Labor endorsement

In Tuesday’s Miami Herald it’s revealed that Lincoln Diaz-Balart was not – repeat NOT – endorsed by some of the labor unions that once endorsed him. Also it’s revealed that the Republican representing Florida’s 21st District sorta fibbed in a news release claiming that he had been endorsed by those unions. Ooops. The Democratic challenger, Raul Martinez, asks for an apology.

And let’s be clear about the wider issue of labor endorsements. The three Democratic challengers for Congress – Raul Martinez, Joe Garcia (FL-25) and Annette Taddeo (FL-18) – are endorsed by the Florida AFL-CIO. Down with the Republican incumbents!

Way down in the Herald article is a reason why the unions reversed earlier backing of the Diaz-Balart brothers and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The three had committed to the Labor Free Choice Act, which makes it easier to form unions, and then they failed to support it in the House. This is what we call behavior of finks.

UPDATE: Click here to read the news release about the AFL-CIO endorsement of the three Democratic candidates.

Chapter II: Cuban American endorsement

Monday evening, a lively gathering at the cocktail hour at the waterfront villa of J.C. Mas and his wife Vivian de la Maza. It’s a fund-raiser for Joe Garcia, the last day of the reporting quarter, and this is a well-heeled and enthusiastic crowd for Garcia’s candidacy.

Host J.C. Mas, son of the late Jorge Mas Canosa, longtime head of the Cuban American National Foundation, introduces Joe Garcia (whom he’s known since college) by admitting that he has given to the Diaz-Balarts in the past but now he has to ask “whether I want them to represent me as a Cuban American.”

“Honestly, when you look at the fact that they only have one issue they can talk about, and they are not addressing this community or all the needs of this community, I think that is something that needs to change. I think they’ve had plenty of opportunities and plenty of time to make their impact, and their impact really is nonexistent.”

He went on to urge the crowd to support Joe Garcia – “a man of honor and of integrity and ultimately more talented to bring hope to our community and to assist us with the enormous needs in this diverse community.”

We’ll see if a few weeks how the campaigns of Joe Garcia, Raul Martinez and Annette Taddeo are faring in the fund-raising area for the second quarter. They out-raised the incumbents in the first quarter. Let’s hope that the fund-raising totals show continuing endorsement by both the well-off crowd and the smaller donors who turned out in droves early this year.

Chapter III: DCCC endorsement

And let’s not forget that the Democratic Party machinery is increasingly behind our challengers. Garcia and Martinez have been endorsed by the Red to Blue committee, an arm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Annette Taddeo has been elevated to status of a promising candidate on that ranking. She also attended the Monday evening event in Coral Gables, and appeared with Joe Garcia Saturday at a community candidates' panel, where I snapped the photo at the top of this report.

And lest you think that all the above is in the local news media, Chapter II is not. It's my little exclusive from having been at the fund-raiser (my check is in the mail, Joe).