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New York’s second largest public employees union gave its endorsement to underdog Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout on Thursday.
The endorsement came the same day the state’s powerful teachers union announced it was staying out of the governor’s race despite issuing endorsements to candidates on both sides of the aisle in other key state and congressional races.
Teachout, a Fordham University law professor who won a court battle on Monday against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo allowing her to remain on the Sept. 9 primary ballot, received the backing of the 55,000-member Public Employees Federation.
“PEF is a very democratic union and today is a testament of that,” said PEF president Susan M. Kent in a statement released by Teachout’s campaign. “This union has taken a bold step to endorse Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu for the office of Governor and [Liutenant] Gov. of New York State. They are the leadership this state needs, that public workers need, and the citizens of the state of New York that we serve.”
The union endorsed Cuomo for governor four years ago.
Kent listed “Teachout’s law background, her involvement with the working class, and the fact she co-founded ‘A New Way Forward,’ an organization to break up the power of big banks,” as reasons for the endorsement.
Teachout’s campaign manager Mike Boland said the endorsement from the union comprised primarily of state workers was “an act of courage and bravery by workers who have a lot at stake.”
“Today they rose above the culture of fear that is pervasive in Albany under Governor Cuomo. The Governor and his old boys club better watch out: this challenge is serious and it isn't going away,” Boland said.
Cuomo campaign spokesman Peter Kauffman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The New York State United Teachers, which represents more than 600,000 educators, released its list of endorsements Thursday which includes supporting Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in their re-election bids.
NYSUT President Karen E. Magee said: “Those who earn endorsements are friends of public education and labor. Over the last two years, they earned our support by advocating effectively for our public schools, colleges and health care institutions; listening intently to the concerns and aspirations of our members, and voting consistently the right way.”