1/9/08

Nevada SEIU places side-bet on Obama

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has won the endorsement of the Nevada chapter of the Service Employees International Union, union officials said.

The influential union claims to represent 17,500 health care and county workers in Nevada. Its executive board approved the decision in a conference call Tuesday night, shortly after the Illinois senator finished a close second behind Hillary Rodham Clinton in the New Hampshire primary.

SEIU President Vicky Hedderman said she believes Obama is a candidate "who could take the campaign all the way through November."

Nevada's Jan. 19 caucus is the next major Democratic nomination contest. Under union rules, the endorsement allows SEIU locals in other states to lend resources and volunteers to its Nevada counterpart on behalf Obama.

Obama has won the support of SEIU locals and state councils in five states, including his home state.

The decision is a blow to the campaign of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who came in third in the New Hampshire.

Edwards has the backing of the 600,000-member SEIU California State Council. He had hoped to put that manpower to work in neighboring Nevada.

The announcement came as Obama was expecting to get another boost from labor in Nevada. The 60,000 member Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 was scheduled to announce its endorsement Wednesday.

(lasvegassun.com)

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