3:20 pm Apr. 23, 2012
1199 SEIU, the largest union in New York, announced it is putting its support behind Representatives Charlie Rangel of Harlem and Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn, two incumbents facing strong primary challenges.
Rangel fended off a crowded field of competitors two years ago, while he was being investigated for ethics violations in the House. But his district has been redrawn to become less African-American and majority Hispanic, and he looks to be facing stiffer competition than last time, with a challenge from Dominican-American State Senator Adriano Espaillat.
Velazquez, meanwhile, is facing a challenge from the Brooklyn Democratic organization, in the person of City Councilman Eric Dilan.
In the open congressional seat in Queens, the union is joining other major labor organizations and backing Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who is running against the Queens Democratic Party-backed candidate, Assemblywoman Grace Meng.
In the mid-Hudson Valley seat held by Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth, the union is backing Sean Patrick Maloney, a former aide to Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson who also worked in the Clinton White House. Maloney is well-funded, and could help Democrats raise money nationally.
UPDATE: 1199 SEIU also endorsed Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who is running for the seat of Ed Towns, who is retiring, with the support of Lopez and the Brooklyn Democratic organization. Jeffries faces Councilman Charles Barron.