Multnomah County's largest employee union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 88, last night endorsed former City Commissioner Jim Francesconi in the race for county chair.

The union membership voted last night, at a forum where Francesconi debated his opponent, recent County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury.

Francesconi and Kafoury are vying for Multnomah County's top elected office—vacated last summer by Jeff Cogen, who resigned after revelations he had an affair with a county employee.

Francesconi broke the news of his endorsement last night on Twitter.

"I'm honored," he wrote.

His campaign confirmed the endorsement with WW.

The 2,800 members of the union chapter comprise the largest portion of the county's $469 million general fund budget.

Union leadership also played a strange role in the Cogen scandal.

At least nine months prior to Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen's July admission of his affair with a county employee, former Local 88 President Michael Hanna warned Cogen employees were talking about that extra-marital relationship. 

In the weeks after Cogen confessed his affair with a health department subordinate, Hanna offered the union's support for a re-election bid.

"Assuming the media stays quiet," Hanna wrote, "I'm fairly certain we can get ASFCME to endorse your re-election (assuming you run). Ken Allen [ASFCME statewide boss] and I are with you, we will just need to overcome the objections of the members who don't want to based on moral grounds or whatever."