NYSUT Backs Scozzafava, Says Boots Will Trump Money

ALBANY—Will it come down to money versus bodies in NY-23?

Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava just secured the endorsement of another big union–New York State United Teachers–which has committed to activating its 33,000 members in the district to Scozzafava's campaign. Scozzafava has also secured the endorsement of the Jefferson-Lewis-St. Lawrence Central Labor Council.

"It'll mean a tremendous number of people in the streets and making phone calls," Alan Lubin, NYSUT's executive vice president, told me by phone. He also said NYSUT would be reaching out to its parents union to secure a monetary donation, and will also ask members to donate.

Scozzafava needs the money. I've heard from several Republican sources that she is having trouble raising money–Politico has a great story about this today–and has been hampered in her efforts to raise funds by conservative displeasure with several of her moderate stances. (Stances like support of same-sex marriage and the Employee Free Choice Act, which appeal to unions.)

Bill Owens, the Democratic Party's candidate, will be feted next week by Barack Obama during a fund-raising swing through Manhattan. While Scozzafava has only one ad on in one market, Owens is blanketing the airwaves with three ads.

Lubin acknowledged this, but wasn't concerned.

"The Democrats money will go for advertising," he said. "We knock on doors. We'll do our own internal outreach, but we knock on doors of our members. It's been effective. That's how Murphy got elected, that's how Arcuri got elected; that's how Massa got elected."

Owens has been endorsed by the Food & Commercial Workers Union and SEIU 1199, the healthcare union which was not shy about spending lots of money to elect Scott Murphy in a recent upstate special election.

Scozzafava's campaign has trotted out the union endorsements along with attacks on Owens. Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party's candidate who is widely seen as a spoiler for Scozzafava, has not sought or received any union endorsements.

Lubin said he was "optimistic" about Scozzafava's chances.

"I think we have a great candidate and she's going to win," he said. "We're excited. We had an overwhelmingly strong vote of support in our board of directors. She's done a great job as an assemblywoman and we trust her in Washington. We need moderate Republicans, and we need them inside the Republican caucus."