Apparently Senator Chris Dodd has received the endorsement of the IAFF, the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents 281,000 members. The IAFF isn’t a huge union by membership standards, but they are among the most politically active of all the unions. The endorsement of the IAFF is also prized for its symbolic nature in a post-9/11 political landscape, given the tremendous heroism and sacrifice shown by firefighters on 9/11. The formal endorsement of Senator Dodd’s campaign will come this morning when the IAFF executive board meets in Washington, D.C.
I was initially surprised the IAFF chose to endorse Senator Dodd, but after looking at his record of support for firefighters during his time in Washington, I can certainly understand why they chose to endorse his campaign. What most interests me about this endorsement is the fact that the IAFF was the only union to endorse Senator John Kerry before the Democratic primaries in 2004, and some attribute the boost their endorsement gave to his campaign with helping his campaign exceed expectations in the early contests, thus vaulting him to the Democratic nomination. In most national polls, Dodd’s polling at somewhere around one percent, so I’ll be curious to see if this endorsement has the same kind of impact on his campaign.
As news of the IAFF’s endorsement started to break, Hillary Clinton’s campaign was quick to announce and endorsement of their own, presumably in an attempt to soften the blow from Dodd’s announcement. The Clinton campaign has announced Hillary has won the endorsement of the United Transportation Union, which represents railroad, bus and public transit workers. While that’s certainly good news for Clinton’s campaign, the UTU doesn’t have nearly the clout of the IAFF, so no matter how her campaign spins this, it’s a loss.