The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) endorsed U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison for Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Thursday.
“Representative Ellison meets the high standard working people expect from leaders of our political parties,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. “He is a proven leader who will focus on year-round grassroots organizing to deliver for working families across America,” he continued.
The AFL-CIO’s executive council voted overwhelmingly to endorse Ellison to lead the DNC, according to a statement from the Federation. Several candidates for the post have sought out the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, which represents 12.5 million workers and is the nation’s largest union.
The union, which endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, now endorses Ellison — who is combating allegations of antisemitism. The Muslim-American congressman from Minnesota also is on the defensive for controversial writings from his past. (RELATED: Keith Ellison Once Proposed A Separate Country For Blacks)
Ellison is the presumed front runner in the race for chair of the DNC. Former DNC chairman and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean also announced his intent to run for the post, but dropped out Dec. 2 to “avoid divisiveness.”
The position of DNC chair is rife with controversy. The position was filled by Democratic strategist Donna Brazile after Debbie Wasserman-Schultz stepped down following revelations by WikiLeaks that Wasserman-Schultz deliberately took steps to hurt the insurgent primary campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The AFL-CIO hopes to rally around Ellison in order to allow the party to rebuild quickly following a disappointing 2016 campaign up and down the ballot. “Under his leadership, the Democratic Party will embody the values that our members stand for every day,” the AFL-CIO asserted.
“The AFL-CIO knows the challenges facing America’s working families and how to speak to working Americans of all colors, genders, and backgrounds,” Ellison said in response to the endorsement. “I am proud to be on their side and I am even prouder that the AFL-CIO is on mine. Workers will be central to the Democratic Party.”
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