Nation's Largest Union Makes Its Endorsement

NEA waits til late in the game, goes for Biden as 4 big states get ready to vote
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 15, 2020 5:31 AM CDT
Nation's Largest Union Makes Its Endorsement
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The nation’s largest labor union has lined up behind Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, with the National Education Association on Saturday endorsing the former vice president for the Democratic nomination over his last remaining primary rival Bernie Sanders. The NEA’s board of directors chose Biden following a recommendation from the organization’s political action committee board, following months of surveying the organization's 3 million members and multiple presidential candidate forums held around the country. NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, whose union tops 3 million members, called Biden a “tireless advocate for public education” and “the partner that students and educators need now in the White House.” The union’s decision came with Biden on the cusp of stretching out an insurmountable delegate lead over Sanders, notes the AP.

The two candidates meet Sunday for their first one-on-one debate, two days before four populous states—Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio—hold primaries with a combined 577 delegates up for grabs. Biden currently leads Sanders by more than 150 delegates with more than half of the national total already awarded, a gap that means Sanders must win 57% of the remaining delegates. There is no precedent for such a comeback. In the four states that vote Tuesday, almost 760,000 voters live in households with at least one NEA member, per the union. NEA officials said the union’s PAC would immediately push digital advertising in the four states on Biden’s behalf, while also communicating with NEA households. The NEA notably waited for an endorsement until Democrats’ field had narrowed. The American Federation of Teachers opted earlier for a triple endorsement, recommending Biden, Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.

(More NEA stories.)

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