Speaking on Outlook Portland with Nick Fish, the president of the Oregon AFL-CIO - Tom Chamberlain - talked about his opinions of Jeff Merkley, Steve Novick, and whether or not the AFL-CIO would endorse in the primary race.
Fish: Next year, there's going to be a very hot race in this state for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate - the right to run against Gordon Smith. You've got two candidates: Jeff Merkley, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Steve Novick, a longtime activist. Happy dilemma for you?
Chamberlain: Happy and difficult. Both are good friends. Steve is a very good family friend. But a happy dilemma in that on one hand, you've got a Speaker of the House who is arguably the most progressive speaker we've had - especially on working family issues and union issues - that drove through an agenda. Everything from prevailing wage to the rights to join unions.
Fish: You said it was the most productive session for working men and women in Oregon in over two decades.
Chamberlain: That's true. Over three decades. Because if you look at everything from health care to family leave to worker's rights to unemployment insurance, they moved it forward. Very, very interesting process.
Fish: Is it fair to say... First, will your organization endorse in the primary?
Chamberlain: Yes... I don't know yet. Let me say this about Steve Novick. ... Steve Novick, shoulder to shoulder with us. He's never held elective office before but he's been a strong voice for working folks, a strong union advocate. ... We've got a touch choice to make. And we well could make an endorsement in the primary. We could well do that. ...
Chamberlain: Our process works like this: We're truly a democratic process. The state federation is run by its affiliates. Every national affiliate has a seat in our endorsement process. It takes two-thirds to endorse.
Update: There's video available via YouTube. The above exchange is at 2:10 here. (Hat tip to James X.)