Culinary Union announces it will not endorse a candidate before Nevada caucuses

By Alexander Tin

/ CBS News

Democrats turn to Nevada, South Carolina

The Culinary Union announced Thursday that it won't endorse a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary race, just days before Democrats in Nevada will caucus for the next presidential contest.

"We are not going to endorse a candidate, a political candidate," Culinary Union chief Geoconda Arguello Kline said at a news conference announcing the decision. "We respect every political candidate right now."

Arguello Kline did, however, single out one candidate for praise, former Vice President Joe Biden.

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"We know Vice President Biden for many years," she said. "We know he has been our friend."

She repeatedly sidestepped questions about whether the union's member leadership had voted on whether to endorse a candidate.

The decision not to endorse had been telegraphed for weeks by the union. It's nonetheless likely to come as a blow to Biden, whose campaign shares close ties with the union.

The Culinary Union has often touted its endorsement in 2008 of Barack Obama, who actually fell short of scoring the majority of votes in the state. In 2016, the labor group mostly sat out the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

In a break with UNITE HERE union locals in neighboring states, the Culinary Union has telegraphed its skepticism over "Medicare for All," most recently in flyers distributed this week among its workers.

Those handouts triggered a public spat between the union and supporters of Bernie Sanders in recent days, whose healthcare platform is defined by his single-payer healthcare proposal.

The union accused Sanders supporters of having "viciously attacked" the labor group merely for having "provided facts on what certain healthcare proposals might do to take away the system of care we have built over 8 decades."

This is a developing story and will be updated.

First published on February 13, 2020 / 4:14 PM

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