Assembly candidate Jovanka Beckles won the backing of the California Labor Federation on Thursday. The collection of labor unions and the power of its 2.1 million members represent a major injection of campaign organizing strength for Beckles’ campaign against former Democratic Party operative Buffy Wicks.

The announcement continues a string of positive developments for Beckles, along with a sense institutional backing is beginning to coalesce around her campaign. Labor’s endorsement follows a collection of former primary opponents from the June primary who have also backed Beckles over Wicks recently.

This week, Beckles received an endorsement from primary opponent Andy Katz. Over the past two weeks, her campaign has amassed support from three other former opponents in what was viewed as a deep and strong field of candidates last June. They are Judy Appel, Dan Kalb, and Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto.

Perhaps the most important endorsement opportunity for Beckles and Wicks comes this Saturday when local Democrats will caucus in Richmond with an eye at offering the state party’s backing, a seal of approval that proves pivotal in many races, particularly this race between two Democrats in the 15th Assembly District.

AD15 scoreboard
The hand-written scoreboard from the California Democratic Party pre-endorsement meeting in AD15 last January in Berkeley.

Last January, 15th District Democratic insiders did not back a candidate in the 12-person primary. In fact, neither of the eventually winners in the top two primary received much support during the pre-endorsement vote. Beckles received eight votes, while Wicks garnered only four. The 28 votes for “no endorsement” easily dwarfed every candidates in the race.

But the June primary election proved much more postiive for Wicks, who parlayed superior campaign finances and a network of volunteers to win nearly a third of the vote.

Beckles and Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb, meanwhile, in the wake of a nailbiting 10 days when the second place results seemingly switched between either candidate every other day, finally favored Beckles by a few hundred votes.

California Democratic Party Post-Primary Endorsing Caucus
15th Assembly District – Sat., July 28
Doors Open: 9:30 a.m. – Meeting Begins: 10:00 a.m.
National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 1111
402 37th Street, Richmond, CA 94805