State Senator Jeff Klein Nets Steamfitters Endorsement

State Senator Jeff Klein. (Photo: Facebook)

State Senator Jeff Klein. (Photo: Facebook)

State Senator Jeff Klein, who is facing a furious challenge from former City Councilman Oliver Koppell, has netted another labor endorsement since Mr. Koppell entered the race.

The Bronx lawmaker is set to announce the backing of the Steamfitters Local 638, a relatively small union not known to tilt the outcome of races, whose support nonetheless provides further evidence that Mr. Koppell might not be able to rely on a united labor front to drive out Mr. Klein.

“Jeff Klein is a proven leader and a fighter for the middle class. He’s been a longtime friend of the Steamfitters Local 638. He believes in the prevailing wage and he’s always been a proponent of labor issues,” Steamfitters president Patrick Dolan said in a statement to the Observer.

Mr. Klein, the leader of a breakaway group of Democrats who govern the State Senate in a power-sharing deal with the Republican Party, has faced severe criticism from Mr. Koppell, a former Bronx councilman and assemblyman, for the arrangement.

But the move does not seem to be crippling him with unions. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers Union and the Transportation Workers Union have backed Mr. Klein already, and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew heaped praise on Mr. Klein during a joint appearance last week.

Mr. Koppell is working in concert with Senate Democrats to try to defeat Mr. Klein, but has yet to roll out any prominent endorsements. The Daily Kos, a left-leaning blog, has been raising money for Mr. Koppell, who is up against Mr. Klein’s million-dollar war chest.