When unions endorse a Republican over a Democrat in any race these days, it’s news. When two police unions in Massachusetts endorse Scott Brown over Attorney General Martha Coakley, the state’s highest ranking law-enforcement officer, it should be a big signal to voters (via Michelle and Ben in New England):
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown yesterday accepted the endorsement of the Police Department’s two major unions [in Worcester].
Local 911, New England Police Benevolent Association, and Local 504, International Brotherhood of Police Officers, handed their endorsement to the state senator. The endorsement comes one day after a debate in which Mr. Brown and his main opponent, Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley, squared off. The special election to fill the seat formerly held by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy will be held Tuesday.
Sgt. Donald E. Cummings, president of Local 504, said Mr. Brown’s service in the National Guard shows that he knows the threat of terrorism is real, and understands the role public safety personnel play in protecting residents.
Stephen Gunnerson, president of Local 911 patrolmen’s union, called Mr. Brown a “tireless advocate for public safety.” He cited Mr. Brown’s support for Jessica’s Law and Haley’s Bill and his support for sex offender and CORI reform.
In a rather interesting twist, the IBPO is an affiliate of the SEIU — not normally known for its pro-Republican tendencies. In fact, its president, Andy Stern, visits the White House on a weekly basis. The SEIU has been lobbying to pass the very bill Brown says he’ll oppose when he gets to the Senate, hoping to be the 41st vote against cloture and the man who can end the government takeover of health care. An endorsement of Brown seems to be a repudiation of both Coakley and the parent union’s political ambitions at the same time.
This is Worcester, and some may wonder whether this is a bastion of conservative thought. It wasn’t for Coakley in her last election. In 2006, while winning her race for the AG spot handily over her GOP opponent, Coakley got over 30,000 votes in Worcester, while Larry Frisoli got less than 10,000 — about the same percentage as the vote went across the state. The MA-03 Congressional district, in which Worcester sits, is so safe for Democrats that Rep. Jim McGovern ran unopposed in the last two elections. It’s a very safe Democratic area … until now.
But the worst part of all is that law-enforcement unions have rejected Coakley. One would expect police officers to trust an AG — if the the AG in question performed well. While the unions are smart enough not to criticize Coakley in public (after all, they’ll be stuck with her if she loses the election), their endorsement of Brown is an obvious slap in the face to the person who sits atop the law-enforcement chain of command in the state. They’re calling Brown a “tireless advocate of public safety,” which is supposed to be Coakley’s current job. In effect, they’re giving her a very public “good, solid B-plus” for her efforts, in the most ironic sense possible.