Monday, April 23, 2007

"Edwards plans busy May Day stop in Seattle"

Seattle P-I:
Democrat targets trial lawyers, labor, fundraisers--Presidential candidate John Edwards will court two of his most adoring sources of Democratic Party support, trial lawyers and organized labor, in Seattle on May 1.
The party's 2004 vice presidential nominee will speak to as many as 1,000 AFL-CIO members at a town hall-style meeting in Seattle at noon, address a public town hall meeting at Everett Community College that afternoon, attend a private fundraising reception in Seattle and keynote a Washington State Trial Lawyers banquet in Seattle that evening.

The fundraiser, at an undisclosed Seattle location, is closed to the public and reporters. An Edwards campaign spokeswoman in North Carolina said the organized labor gathering at the Aerospace Machinists Hall in South Seattle also is closed to the media, but Rick Bender, president of the Washington State Labor Council, said the media are invited.

The trial lawyers' banquet will be at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel.

A wealthy former personal-injury lawyer, ex-senator from North Carolina for one term and unsuccessful candidate for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, Edwards has worked hard to woo members of his former profession as well as labor unions, two influential segments of the Democratic Party base.

However, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, both lawyers, also have made inroads among trial lawyers, especially with Edwards running a distant third behind those two in Democratic presidential polls -- and a distant third in campaign fundraising.

"There is no question that John is well liked by labor," Bender said, but he added that Obama and Clinton are, too. "It's tough to say whether any candidate can get two-thirds" of the votes of the AFL-CIO executive council that are necessary to win the federation's endorsement for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The AFL-CIO has arranged a two-stage process for Democratic presidential contenders to present themselves to union members: individually at town hall-style meetings at locations of the candidates' choosing around the country, and later at a forum for all the candidates in Chicago in August.

Edwards chose Seattle, where he was scheduled to speak to the trial lawyers the same day.

At the Machinists Hall event, a panel of three union members will question Edwards about labor issues before the meeting is opened to questions from unionists in the audience.

Edwards has made numerous trips to Seattle since 2004. The most recent was on March 6 when he slipped quietly into town for a session with union members and a fundraising event at the home of Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz.

Schultz and his wife, Sheri, have each contributed $2,300 to Edwards, the maximum allowed to a pre-nomination presidential campaign.

The ex-senator also met with about 30 members of the politically aggressive, Seattle-based Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union.

"Although we like him a lot, there are also other candidates that we like a lot," Local 775 President David Rolf said.

The Edwards campaign has some influential Democrats heading its campaign in this state.

His state campaign chairwoman is Seattle trial attorney Jenny Durkan, a key political and legal adviser of Gov. Chris Gregoire. Tracy Newman, one of the state's premier Democratic fundraisers, is raising money for him, as she has in past campaigns for Gregoire, former Gov. Gary Locke, former President Clinton and former presidential nominee Al Gore.

2 comments:

Courtney Bailey said...

John Edwards is a Trial Lawyer. If he can't secure them, his primary source of funding dries up.

Howard Martin said...

I'm not sure the Washington State Trial Lawyers are a primary source of Edwards' funding, but they are friendly and generous.