Last month, two of the most influential union groups in Oregon politics endorsed embattled State Rep. Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley), who faces a primary challenge from Jeff Reardon, a teacher at David Douglas High School.
The AFL-CIO, a statewide umbrella group of numerous labor organizations, gave its support to Schaufler despite the fact that his boorish behavior at the union's convention in Eugene last fall cost Schaufler the co-chairmanship of the powerful House Business and Labor Committee. (House leaders bounced him from that committee after he allegedly placed his hand on the breast of a female aide to Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.)
Then the Oregon Education Association, the 48,000 member teachers union, jumped on the Schaufler bandwagon, even though he was the only House Democrat who voted against the 2009 income tax increases that were a top priority for OEA—and even though Reardon, who served for a decade on the David Douglas School Board, is an OEA member.
OEA did not WW's calls for comment on their endorsement.
Corrected at 11:49 am: AFL-CIO spokeswoman Elana Guiney earlier provided the following explanation for her group's endorsement. (The original version of this story erroneously said the AFL-CIO declined to comment).
"Representative Shaufler's entire history - including his voting record, when and how he supports union members outside of the Legislature, his behavior at our convention, and the public statements he has made and private conversations he has had since then - were taken into account when our board chose to endorse his campaign for re-election," Guiney said in an email. "Ultimately, over 2/3 of our board has to agree that a decision is best and in this case they decided that we should support Representative Shaufler's reelection."
But today, a group of 10 lawmakers who will actually have to work with Schaufler if he wins re-election, showed backbone that the special interest groups lack. It's rare to see Democrats desert one of their own in a primary, but Reardon's campaign announced this morning that 10 lawmakers are doing just that.
The legislators include: State Senator Rod Monroe (D-Portland/Clackamas County), State Rep. Dave Hunt (D-Clackamas County), Sen. Chip Shields (D-N/NE Portland), Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), Sen. Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward (D-NW Portland/Beaverton), Sen. Jackie Dingfelder (D-NE/SE Portland), Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-NE/SE Portland), State Rep. Chris Harker (D-Washington County) and Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene/Veneta).
A couple of those names are notable: Keny-Guyer is a rookie legislator who only got appointed last year to fill a vacancy. She will sit with Schaufler in caucus meetings, as will Holvey, a carpenter's union representative, who is bucking his labor brethren. Steiner Hayward also just got appointed last year, so she is showing more fortitude than the Democrats who have remained silent on the race.
"With four daughters and a politically active wife, Jeff Reardon clearly understands the issues facing women. He is committed to helping women gain access to family wage jobs by supporting apprenticeships and affordable, quality child care " said Keny-Guyer in a statement. "I am proud to stand with Governor Barbara Roberts in endorsing Jeff Reardon for District 48 State Representative."