SD Labor Council Tells Early Picks, but Mum on Mayor, Atkins vs. Block

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Six months ahead of the June primary, an influential labor group has announced endorsements of 10 local candidates. But it didn’t back the lone Democrat in the San Diego mayoral race or choose between the outgoing Assembly speaker and an incumbent state senator.

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Mickey Kasparian, president of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. Photo via Twitter
The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO, made its decisions Wednesday night and posted its endorsements Thursday on Facebook and its blog, leaving out a pick for the 39th state Senate District — now represented by Marty Block with a challenge by fellow Democrat and former San Diego Councilwoman Toni Atkins.

The Democratic-leaning council, which has committed money and manpower behind candidates in the past, also didn’t come out for announced mayoral candidate Gretchen Newsom, 34, president of the Ocean Beach Town Council and political director locally of the electricians union.

Mickey Kasparian, leader of UFCW Local 135 and longtime president of the Labor Council, has a major voice in picking the challenger to Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

But in late October, a series of tweets indicated a lack of enthusiasm:

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The labor council said all endorsed candidates took part in an extensive screening process with rank-and-file members and union leadership, which included a mandatory questionnaire, interview and approval of both the Executive Board and delegates.

“Elections have very real consequences for working people,” Kasparian said in a statement. “When push comes to shove, each and every one of these candidates has stood with us to protect good local jobs, strengthen our schools and improve the lives of working families. We are confident that these candidates have the right skills and vision to move San Diego forward.”

The council’s early endorsements for 2016 primary elections:

  • Gregg Robinson for San Diego County Board of Education, District 1
  • Rick Shea for San Diego County Board of Education, District 5
  • Eduardo Reyes for Chula Vista City Council, District 4
  • Chris Ward for San Diego City Council, District 3
  • Sarah Saez for San Diego City Council, District 9
  • Bernie Rhinerson for San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees, Seat A
  • Mary Graham for San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees, Seat D
  • Richard Barrera for San Diego Unified School District, District D
  • Shirley Weber for the 79th California Assembly District
  • Lorena Gonzalez for the 80th California Assembly District
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