Monday October 28, 2013 | 03:47 PM

WASHINGTON – Maine’s largest labor organization, the AFL-CIO, has endorsed U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-District 2, in his bid for governor and State Sen. Troy Jackson as the Allagash Democrat seeks to fill Michaud’s seat in Washington.

It's certainly no surprise that Michaud would receive an endorsement from the Maine AFL-CIO, which represents 30,000 workers in 160 local unions in the state. Michaud is a card-carrying union member who spent several decades working in the paper mills. Meanwhile, there’s no love lost between labor unions and the Blaine House’s current occupant, Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

The organization’s endorsement of Jackson, while not surprising, could have interesting implications for the race in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, however.

As I noted in my Sunday column (which can be found here), union endorsements often translate into direct contributions from the union itself as well as donations from union members. Unions can also help supply the people needed to conduct a campaign’s ground game (hand out pamphlets, make phone calls, talk up their candidate in social circles, etc…)

Both of those things will likely be important to Jackson – a logger who serves as the majority leader of the Maine Senate – as he seeks the Democratic nomination next June.

Jackson’s current top opponent in the primary is state Sen. Emily Cain, D-Orono. Cain has already been endorsed by EMILY’s List, the influential and well-moneyed national organization that has been working for nearly 30 years to help elect pro-choice, Democratic women.

The endorsement means Cain – a former Maine House minority leader – will have access to not only the organization’s campaign-support services but also to would-be donors nationwide. EMILY’s List claims to have more than 2 million members.

So the Democratic primary for the 2nd CD race could turn out to be a spirited one, both politically and financially.

Here’s what Maine AFL-CIO President Don Berry had to say about Jackson’s endorsement:

“Troy Jackson works every day to make sure that Maine’s working families and middle class succeed. As a sixth generation logger, Troy knows the challenges working people face. He has worked tirelessly to improve Maine’s economy and extend the ladder of opportunity to all Mainers,” Berry said in a statement.

And here is what EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said earlier this month when endorsing Cain:

“Emily Cain is an impressively seasoned young leader, and her commitment to the women and working families of Maine is unwavering. Emily has defended women’s access to healthcare, fought to increase opportunities in education, and spearheaded ethics reforms in Augusta, and the EMILY’s List community – now more than two million members strong – is thrilled to help her become the first Democratic woman elected to Maine’s 2nd congressional district,” Schriock said in a statement.

Finally, on the topic of EMILY's List . . . I’ll make one more shameless plug back to the Sunday column for those interested in reading more about how Republicans are invoking the name of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith in hopes of replicating the successes of EMILY's List on their side of the aisle.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@mainetoday.com

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