Nebraska: Transport Union Backs Raimondo in Primary

Posted May 7, 2008 at 6:39pm

Wealthy businessman Tony Raimondo, running against 2006 House candidate Scott Kleeb for the Democratic Senate nomination in Tuesday’s primary, has been endorsed by the United Transportation Union’s state affiliate.

In announcing its endorsement, the UTU said that it views Raimondo as more electable than Kleeb in a general election matchup with presumptive GOP nominee Mike Johanns. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) is retiring.

“Tony’s experience and leadership ability clearly set him apart in this race,” Ben Ebmeier, the union’s executive board secretary, said in a statement released by the Raimondo campaign. “We know and appreciate Scott Kleeb. However, our members also know that Tony will offer a stark contrast to the candidacy of Mike Johanns in November.”

Johanns, a former governor and Agriculture Secretary, has minimal opposition in Tuesday’s GOP primary. Raimondo was a Republican who wanted to run for Senate on the GOP ticket this year, but switched to the Democratic Party after Republicans united behind Johanns.

Kleeb was the Democratic nominee in the previous cycle in the 3rd district.

The UTU represents 125,000 active and retired railroad, bus and mass-transit workers nationwide, including 4,000 in Nebraska.

In a related development, Raimondo recently triggered the “Millionaires’ Amendment,” which enables Kleeb to accept larger campaign contributions than normal.

— David M. Drucker