By Ed Tibbets, Quad-City Times
With less than a month before the June 5 primary, the Quad-City Federation of Labor threw its weight Wednesday behind Rep. Dave Loebsack, endorsing him over his rival, state Sen. Joe Seng.
The endorsement is the group’s fourth for Loebsack, but it’s a bit more significant this year because it’s before a primary and from the largest labor group in Seng’s home area. Seng, a Davenport Democrat, has been an officeholder for 17 years.
“We’re going to do everything we possibly can to get him elected,” Jerry Messer, the group’s president, said of Loebsack, who’s seeking a third term. “The congressman has been a good congressman for organized labor, working families. Not that Joe hasn’t done a good job in the Senate, but we’re not ready to change horses in the middle of the stream.”
Messer said he had tried to convince Seng not to run.
The endorsement, which is for both the primary and general elections, was announced after a breakfast meeting in Davenport that included a cross-section of labor officials in the area. It was closed to the media.
In announcing the endorsement, the federation praised Loebsack’s support for a proposal to make it easier for unions to organize, as well as for the federal stimulus law and legislation that led to the bailout of part of the U.S. auto industry.
For his part, the congressman praised unions for workplace advances and said their expansion is key to stopping the decline in the middle class. “There’s been an assault on labor, an assault on benefits. We’ve got to turn that around,” he said afterward.
The labor federation endorsed Loebsack when he first ran in 2006, as well as in 2008 and 2010. The 2nd District that Loebsack represents includes Muscatine County, but for this election Scott and Clinton counties have been added because of redistricting.
The labor federation also endorsed statehouse and county candidates who were at the breakfast Wednesday. They included Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz, a Democrat, as well as statehouse candidates Sara Sedlacek of West Liberty, Maria Bribriesco of Bettendorf, and Chris Brase of Muscatine. They are all Democrats, too.
Moritz is seeking re-election to her post. Sedlacek is running in House District 88, where Rep. Tom Sands, R-Wapello, is the incumbent. Bribriesco is seeking the House District 94 seat, where Rep. Linda Miller, R-Bettendorf, is the incumbent. Brase will face the winner of the primary between state Sens. Shawn Hamerlinck, R-Dixon, and Jim Hahn, R-Muscatine, in Senate District 46.
Messer said other endorsements would be made later involving state legislators who still are in session.