Election 2018: Big-name endorsements in Senate race; Teamsters, service workers too

President Donald J. Trump boards Air Force One Thursday, July 5 en route to Great Falls. (Official White House photos by Joyce N. Boghosian)

The big endorsement news in recent days, of course, was President Donald Trump’s appearance in Great Falls to support the candidacy of Republican senatorial challenger Matt Rosendale, followed the next morning by Pearl Jam’s announced concert and campaign reception in Missoula to boost Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester.

Admittedly, neither was a surprise.

Rosendale, the Montana state auditor, has been an unabashed supporter of the president’s conservative agenda – and reiterated that message during last Thursday’s rally. The president, in turn, has hammered on Tester since the state’s senior senator helped uncover evidence that deep-sixed Trump’s pick to lead the Veterans Administration.

And Pearl Jam’s August concert in Missoula will be the legendary grunge band’s third in support of Tester, who knows bassist Jeff Ament from their days growing up in Big Sandy. The band has backed each of Tester’s three senatorial races.

Still, they’re big names grabbing headlines in the state’s marquee political contest for 2018 and so, now, are duly noted.

This week’s roundup of statewide and local campaign endorsements is otherwise slim, although Tester did pick up two more major union backers.

Here’s a look at the endorsements:

Montana Service Employees International Union: Last week, the Tester reelection campaign added an endorsement from SEIU 775, with the service workers union saying he is the candidate who will “fight for Montana’s workers.”

“Caregivers across the state of Montana have a true champion in Jon Tester,” said homecare worker Winnifred Schafer of SEIU. “We need someone like Jon in the Senate to fight for fair wages, protections against workplace discrimination, and to hit back on attempts to undermine collective bargaining rights. We at SEIU are proud to endorse Jon and his proven record of standing with Montana workers.”

In the announcement, SEIU said Tester has pushed for fair increases to the minimum wage, “so no full-time Montana worker has to live in poverty, and has regularly gone to bat for collective bargaining rights.”

The union’s leaders noted that Tester’s leadership on worker rights in the Senate is particularly critical following the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, “which rolled back much of what Montana’s working families have fought for over the last century.”

Teamsters: Also squarely in the Tester camp are Teamsters Local 2 and Local 190.

“There is no better voice for organized workers than Jon Tester,” said Jim Larson, principal officer of Teamsters Local 190, in a written statement. “Whether Jon is fighting for collective bargaining rights or protecting workers from workplace discrimination, Jon has made defending labor a priority. Teamsters 190 has Jon’s back, and Jon has our back.”

“We need a fighter for Montana workers in Washington, and Jon Tester is that fighter,” said Bill Rowe, principal officer of Teamsters Local 2. “Jon Tester fights for good jobs and good wages for Montana’s workers, and he continues to represent everyday Montanans, not corporate interests. We must send Jon back to the Senate so he can continue to build on that record.”

The union brass said Tester has pushed “Buy American policies to require the government to use Made In America products for their infrastructure projects, and he has consistently fought to prevent workplace discrimination.”