In this year of crowded political races, groups' decisions not to endorse have been fairly common. But announcing support for five hopefuls for one City Council seat?
With its allegiances to a range of different labor interests, the Working Families Party has made such a “multiple endorsement” for the south Brooklyn seat now held by Councilmember Steve DiBrienza, approving Steve Banks, Bill DeBlasio, Paul Bader, Anthony Pugliese and Jack Carroll.
Most of the candidates have ties to at least one union, and labor makes up the bulk of the party's membership. Banks, a Legal Aid attorney, has UAW and the machinists, while Bader, a printer and husband to Rep. Nydia Velasquez, has his colleagues. DeBlasio, former campaign manager to Senator Hillary Clinton, is backed by ACORN, SEIU and CWA, and Pugliese is a carpenter with his union's support. Carroll's political connections as past president of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats certainly didn't hurt him.
“We were completely divided,” said Dan Cantor, executive director of the WFP. “We like them all.”
The endorsement decision made by the party's executive committee came as a surprise, and a disappointment, to many members of WFP's south Brooklyn club, which voted overwhelmingly for Banks last month: the lawyer, praised by the club as the “grassroots candidate,” received 50 votes to Carroll's 2 to Bader's 1. Neither DeBlasio nor Pugliese received a vote.
“We believe that the club should have been respected,” said Scott Sommer, one of the party's district leaders in Brooklyn and a member of WFP's executive committee. “It was a fair vote by WFP members.”
Unfortunately, said Cantor, it's not always so easy. “All of the backers were trying to maneuver for their candidates,” he said. “Sanity prevailed.”