DemDaily: The Endorsement Game

July 6, 2023

With the Republican presidential primary in full gear, the endorsement game has begun.

Endorsements have traditionally carried significant weight in the success of primary candidates, but this is no ordinary election cycle.

The early support of governors, US Senators and members of Congress is considered particularly valuable for their perceived influence with colleagues and, most importantly, their voting constituents.

Likewise, the organizational strength, funding and voting power that labor unions and national organizations bring to the table can have a significant impact on a candidate's success in any given state.

Republicans
Despite the looming threat of more indictments and convictions, twice-impeached former President Donald Trump continues to dominate the GOP field in the polls and the endorsement count.

His hold on the Republican Party is evident in the official endorsements thus far of 10 US Senators, two governors, 62 US Representatives, and over three dozen state executive officials and legislators.

Among the 12 GOP candidates, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis comes second in the endorsement race with one governor, five US Representatives, and over 300 state executive officials and legislators (1/3 of whom are from his home state).

US Senators who have endorsed Trump include Tommy Tuberville (AL), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Eric Schmitt (MO), Steve Daines (MT), Ted Budd (NC), J.D. Vance (OH), Markwayne Mullin (OK), Lindsey Graham (SC), Marsha Blackburn (TN) and Bill Hagerty (TN), as well as Governors Henry McMaster (SC) and Jim Justice (WV).

Democrats
As sitting President, Joe Biden is the presumed Democratic nominee, with just nominal opposition from long-shot candidates Marianne Williamson and Robert Kennedy, Jr.

In order to unleash the power of their resources, major organizations and unions have endorsed Biden far in advance of the usual electoral timeline.

On June 23, the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, three major reproductive rights groups -- Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List -- endorsed Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

In a unified sign of support, the General Board of the American Federation of Labor-Council of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), an umbrella group of 60 national and international labor unions representing 12.5 million members, voted June 16 to endorse Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for reelection.

The vote, the earliest the AFL-CIO has endorsed in a presidential election, comes with the organizing infrastructure of thousands of state and local affiliates and, at this early stage, a collective investment that is likely to exceed $50 million.

In addition to the AFL-CIO, at least 20 unions have issued their own endorsements of the Biden-Harris campaign, with some more openly engaging their members in the process -- many of which have historically voted against their own interests. Despite his anti-union policies in office, 40% of union households still supported Trump in 2020 compared to 57% for Biden.

The endorsement of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), announced June 23, was the result of an independent online ballot conducted among its 600,000 members, who voted overwhelmingly to support Biden with 61% of the vote. Trump secured 17%, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Ron DeSantis garnering 7% each.

Official endorsements for Biden-Harris continue to roll out daily, with a count to-date of 26 US Senators, 14 governors, 57 US Representatives, dozens of state executive officials, legislators and major-city mayors, current and former Cabinet officials and former President Barack Obama.

In an unprecedented move, national environmental groups on June 14 issued a joint endorsement of Biden-Harris' reelection, including the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Action Fund and NextGen America PAC.

Related
See full list of GOP Primary Endorsements

DemDaily: Labor Backs Biden 6/20/23
DemDaily: GOP Field Tops Nine 6/7/23
DemDaily: DeSantis Declares 5/25/23
DemDaily: The Expanding GOP Field 5/22/23
DemDaily: Biden: No One Left Behind 5/5/23
DemDaily: Biden Back In The Fight 4/25/23

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Kimberly Scott
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Sources: AFL-CIO, AP, Biden Harris Campaign, The Hill, Business Insider, CNN, IAM

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