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Wins for all of Labor’s statewide candidates

Labor helps elect one of its own,
Tim Walz, to lead state as governor

The candidates leading the top of the DFL and labor-endorsed ticket celebrated victory November 6. Left to right: U.S. Senator Tina Smith, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Governor-elect Tim Walz, Lieutenant Governor-elect Peggy Flanagan.

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, November 16, 2018

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

SAINT PAUL — The stakes in the 2018 election couldn’t have been higher. And, in the end, labor’s endorsed statewide candidates swept the board.

In races for U.S. Senate, Amy Klobuchar cruised to re-election with a margin exceeding 625,000 votes while Tina Smith won her special election by nearly 275,000 votes.

Tim Walz won the race for Governor with a lead of more than 295,000 votes.

In other statewide races, Keith Ellison won election as Attorney General, Steve Simon won re-election as Minnesota Secretary of State, and former Minnesota AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Julie Blaha — a middle school math teacher — won election as State Auditor.

Voter turn-out was the highest in years for a mid-term election.

Minnesota AFL-CIO president Bill McCarthy commented: “A record number of Minnesotans sent a clear message… by electing the full slate of Labor-endorsed candidates to statewide offices, putting a working families majority in charge of the Minnesota House, and sending five Labor-endorsed candidates to Congress.”

Labor and DFL-endorsed Ilhan Omar made history in winning her Fifth Congressional District race, becoming the first Somali-American to win a seat in Congress.

Labor and DFL-endorsed candidate Angie Craig defeated first-term Republican incumbent Jason Lewis in the Second Congressional District.

Labor and DFL-endorsed candidate Dean Phillips defeated 12-term Republican incumbent Erik Paulsen in the Third Congressional District.

In races for open seats in the First and Eighth Congressional Districts, however, Labor and DFL-endorsed candidates Dan Feehan and Joe Radinovich lost their respective races.

The big prize for 2018 remained the race for Governor.

“Our volunteer-driven member to member political campaign, the largest and most strategic in Minnesota AFL-CIO history, reached tens of thousands of union members at their worksites, at their homes, on their phones, in their mailboxes, and on social media,” Minnesota AFL-CIO president McCarthy said.

Many unions affiliated with the Minnesota AFL-CIO stepped up their game.

“The Laborers started a new member engagement program,” reported Joe Fowler, business manager of Laborers Local 563. The program included a 4-5 hour training, including a session on labor history. The program also included 4 volunteer shifts doing union member to union member outreach. “They kept volunteering afterwards,” Fowler said. “They were invested.”

“We’re building pride in the union again,” Fowler said. “People need to know where they came from.”

“Tim Walz is going to do an amazing job,” commented Jason George, business manager of Operating Engineers Local 49. “He’s going to be the voice we need for working class people.” George added: “Our guys knew what was at stake.”

“Union members knew that our very freedom to join together was on the ballot this year and made sure our voices were heard loud and clear,” the AFL-CIO’s McCarthy added.

With plans to go hunting the weekend after the election, “I’ll be shooting a deer with a smile on my face,” said Laborers Local 563’s Joe Fowler.

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