The Ohio Conference of Teamsters endorsed Republican Sen. Rob Portman on Monday despite the organization’s history backing Democrats
The union endorsement is a coup for Portman, considering that the group backed Portman’s Democratic opponent Ted Strickland in his successful bid for governor in 2006 and his unsuccessful bid for re-election four years later.
“Rob is fighting for middle-class jobs and higher wages for the people of Ohio, and he has fought with us to protect our pensions,” said Pat Darrow, president of the Ohio Conference of Teamsters. “We look forward to supporting Rob and continuing to work with him in the U.S. Senate.”
In its endorsement, the union cited Portman’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and his work to protect pensions.
This is Portman’s second union endorsement from an organization that previously endorsed Strickland. Last month, the United Mine Workers endorsed the senator.
But Strickland’s team responded by saying that the Teamsters union is largely backing Republicans this year and pointed out that the Democrat has the backing of the AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the United Auto Workers.
“The contrast in this election couldn’t be more clear: Ted is on the side of Ohioans who actually work for a living, while Senator Portman is pushing the agenda of his rich and powerful friends at the expense of working families,” said Strickland campaign spokesman David Bergstein.
Correction July 29 11:45 a.m. | An earlier version of this story misattributed a quote to the United Mine Workers.