The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 announced today that it is backing Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack for Congress. In a statement, the union said its members strongly supported the 8th district congressman over the three DFL candidates running to replace him.
“Ultimately the membership decided we needed to take our partisan hats off, keep political party affiliation out of it, and make an evidence based decision,” the release said.
The union noted that Cravaack supports several efforts that labor likes, including increased mineral exploration and mining in the northeastern Minnesota district. It also noted that he worked to protect union interests as well.
“When we took a look at Congressman Cravaack’s term in office, it became clear that he has done a good job of staying away from partisan Washington politics, and really focusing on bread and butter issues that are important to construction workers in his district. He is not afraid to stand up to his party when he disagrees with their direction, and his votes reflect that.”
The union has roughly 13,000 members in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota but the endorsement will help Cravaack make inroads into a group that traditionally supports Democrats. Cravaack is expected to face a tough reelection battle. Former Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson, former state Sen. Tarryl Clark and former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan are all running in the DFL primary.
Here’s the full statement: