Andrew J. Hawkins had a big scoop today that NYSUT, the New York State teacher’s union, would be sitting out any endorsements in the governor’s race and several Senate races.
But it is worth noting that NYSUT is not endorsing in the competitive attorney general primary as well.
According to a NYSUT official, Sean Coffey and Kathleen Rice met with the union’s board of directors, and Richard Brodsky and Eric Schneiderman spoke with the board over the phone.
“At this point for the most part we are going to wait for the primaries and see what the outcome is,” said Andrew Pallotta, a NYSUT vice-president who guides their political outreach. “The race is tight, and so many of them seem highly qualified.”
Pallotta explained that there was a strong regional push among board members to back the candidate from their area–City residents wanted Schneiderman, Long Islanders backed Rice, and those from the Hudson Valley were for Brodsky–but no one had enough coalesced enough support from the whole union.
“The endorsement is hollow if members in the field are not behind a candidate,” said Carl Korn, a NYSUT spokesman.
Pallotta singled out Schneiderman as someone who has been strong on their issues throughout his career, and pointed to Schneiderman’s vote against the property tax cap–he was one of only eight senators to do so–as evidence of his commitment to their cause.
“Look at Schneiderman taking the tax cap hit and that’s one of our key issues for someone who is running for statewide office,” he said. “To be one of the few statewide folks to say no to the tax cap, that took a lot of guts.”
Pallotta said he did not see the no-endorsement as abandoning a strong supporter.
“I wouldn’t say we are leaving him hanging. He knows as well as the others that they have support throughout the state. What we are doing is letting the whole process play out until we find out who is going to get the backing of the general public.”
The union singled out charter school fraud as something they would like the next attorney general to look at, and added that they still may make an endorsement in the coming weeks.
“There is still time. A candidate might stand out,” Pallotta said.