The New Hampshire SEIU Confusion: Blame Mike Huckabee
(updated and clarifies throughout)
Per several sources close the process, here is what transpired in New Hampshire:
On October 8th, the SEIU's international executive board voted to allow each state to endorse on its own.
Endorsemet procedures vary by state. With the New Hampshire SEA, a political education committee (PE) was set to recommend an endorsement. It was composed of nearly two dozen members, Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
The PE committee held one-on-one interviews with the candidates, reviewed their health care plans and accounts of their SEIU walk-a-days.
On October 14, the PE committee met with Obama for an hour. He returned right before their vote to make a final pitch. Bill Clinton and John Edwards called in.
Edwards won the recommendation by a vote of 10 to 5 for Obama to 1 for Clinton. The process having run its course, the committee made the recommendation unanimous. They'd recommend Edwards to full state SEIU board.
The state board met on October 23. They reject the PE's recommendation of Edwards. Many of the Republicans on the committee were upset that Mike Huckabee had never been given the opportunity to solicit the endorsement. The reasoning behind his exclusion was that he had not met the SEIU's basic criteria: he had not yet proposed a universal health care plan and had not walked a day in the shoes of an SEIU member.
In protest, Huckabee supporters banded together and convinced some Obama supporters to join them. Because Edwards's supporters assumed that the PE recommendation would hold, many weren't at the meeting. By 7 to 5, Obama won an informal vote.
This news was communicated to the Obama campaign.
But "When word got out," a Democratic official says, "the place blew up."
How dare board ignore the recommendation of the PE committee?
Aware of the criticism, the full board met on Friday, October 26 and agreed to re-open the process.
On Saturday, October, 27, The NH SEA held a straw poll at a state convention in Concord. Without hearing the report of the political committee and without hearing that the endorsement had been unanimous, Edwards won.
The PE committee reconvened on Monday and re-recommended Edwards. Obama’s campaign began to re-lobby board members, as did Elizabeth Edwards.
On Tuesday, by a vote of 9 to 8, the state board voted to uphold the PE committee's recommendation, and Edwards had his endorsement.
The vote was not held in secret; critics of the process were allowed in and given the opportunity to speak