Katko wins a disputed labor endorsement
The Republican candidate for the Syracuse-area's congressional seat has won the endorsement of one labor union leader, but other area labor unions are saying they're still strongly behind the Democrat in the race.
Tim Hogan, the former president of the now dissolved Teamsters 182 says he endorsed long-time friend John Katko's effort to unseat Rep. Dan Maffei back in April, before his union chapter merged with a Teamsters chapter based in Albany.
"I’m proud to endorse John," he said Wednesday at a press conference. "One thing I want to say is, just because we’re a Democratic union, doesn’t mean we have to vote Democrat. We vote for people who are going to do the right thing in there and not benefit themselves."
Hogan stressed his endorsement is "legal," hinting that much of organized labor in central New York was upset when they heard about the endorsement.
"Whatever everybody else is saying, it is still legal because I endorsed him when I was president and principal executive of 182," he said, adding the members of the old chapter are still in central New York.
It prompted members of the still operational Teamster 317 and AFL-CIO to rally right next door to Katko's campaign headquarters moments before Hogan's endorsement, at the offices of an electrical workers union hall.
"There seems to be the concept that labor is not behind Dan Maffei," said John Pekoff, the political director for the Teamsters 317. "Nothing could be further from the truth."
Hogan told reporters his endorsement is both personal and political.
Katko is a former federal prosecutor. He's trying to unseat Maffei, a Democrat was has served two non-consecutive terms in Congress.
Both Hogan and the other union reps said their members are still free to vote for whomever they choose in November.