Sanders wins key endorsement for presidential campaign

Bernie Sanders, Carlton Lee
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, poses for a selfie with Rev. Carlton Lee at the Freddie Gray Empowerment Center in Baltimore, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, after taking a walking tour of Gray's neighborhood and meeting with African-American civic and religious leaders in Baltimore, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is picking up the largest labor endorsement of his Democratic presidential campaign Thursday.

The Communications Workers of America is set to announce its endorsement of Sanders, according to a person familiar with the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity because the endorsement has not yet been made public.

CWA, the largest communications and media union in the U.S., represents about 700,000 telecommunications and technology workers. A spokeswoman for the union declined comment.

Sanders was expected to join union leaders at a news conference in Washington Thursday for the formal announcement

Sanders has sought to project momentum heading into Saturday’s third Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire even as national polls have shown him trailing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. His campaign announced Thursday it had received 2 million financial contributions from supporters — underscoring Sanders’ clout in online fundraising — at a pace comparable to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. Sanders’ team said it had raised more than $3 million since Monday.

The union endorsement was widely expected. The organization’s former president, Larry Cohen, has been an unpaid labor adviser to Sanders’ campaign and the CWA has been a vocal opponent of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which Sanders has assailed as detrimental to middle-class jobs and wages.

Clinton has locked up nearly 20 labor endorsements accounting for about 11 million members, including influential unions, such as the National Education Association and the Service Employees International Union.

CWA is the third union to back Sanders. The group endorsed President Barack Obama in 2008 and again during his re-election campaign.

The endorsement was first reported by NBC News.

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