Union Split Interrupts Endorsement Presser In NH

An internal row between SEIU members in New Hampshire marred what was supposed to be a valedictory press conference for John Edwards in Concord today.

Edwards won the endorsement of the executive board by a single vote. But last week, a senior SEIU official in the state, Gary Smith, called Obama to tell him that he had won a straw vote. Obama, according to a campaign official, came away convinced that he, and not Edwards, had won the endorsement.

Officials confirm that on October 23, the executive committee of the New Hampshire State Employees Association (that's the NH SEIU) held an informal straw vote -- akin to a jury foreperson sampling members before deliberations -- and Barack Obama won 7 to 5.

During that meeting, the committee decided to hold a straw poll at the NH SEA convention in Nashua set for last weekend.

By a slim margin and with many http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/10/union_split_mars_edwards_endor.php, Edwards won the straw poll. He also won the vote of the political education committee, which is the internal SEA body dedicated to political action.

National Journal/NBC's reporter on the ground in New Hampshire, Mike Memoli reports that the head of a New Hampshire local union partial to Obama is strenuously objecting to the Edwards endorsement and contends that the state SEA buckled under pressure from union leaders in Washington.