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California AFL-CIO endorses Bustamante

Union reiterates stances against recall

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante
Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante

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California's GOP leadership is hoping to unite support squarely behind Arnold Schwarzenegger in the race for the statehouse.
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Along with the recall of Gov. Gray Davis, California voters will consider Prop 54, which some candidates would rather avoid.
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Gray Davis
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Cruz Bustamante
California Recall

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- California's AFL-CIO affiliate voted Tuesday to urge state voters to oppose the recall of Gov. Gray Davis but to support Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante as a possible replacement on the October 7 ballot.

"This is a powerful alliance you're looking at -- an alliance of the working people in this state and someone who's stood with them for almost 30 years," Davis said in a joint news conference with union officials.

The California Labor Federation, the state's AFL-CIO chapter, had opposed Bustamante's entry into the race to succeed Davis, a fellow Democrat. But delegates voted to endorse him to boost anti-recall turnout, particularly among Latino voters, said Art Pulaski, the federation's executive secretary-treasurer.

"Each day that this campaign goes on, we become more and more convinced that this recall is going to go down with rejection by the voters of the state of California," Pulaski said.

Pulaski said the union's resources would go exclusively to supporting Davis, rather than campaigning for Bustamante.

"All of our resources are committed to 'No' on recall," he said.

Voters casting ballots in the recall face a two-part question: whether to remove Davis from office less than a year into his second term, and who they would choose to replace him.

Davis called Bustamante "the most qualified person on Question Two, but this election is not going to get to Question Two."

"I am very proud that organized labor and working people are standing with my efforts to fight the recall," he said.

The labor federation represents an estimated 2.1 million California workers and is prepared to launch a multimillion-dollar campaign against the recall, said Miguel Contreras, the secretary of the group's Los Angeles County chapter.

A Los Angeles Times poll conducted last week found that 50 percent of Californians surveyed would vote to recall Davis. Among the field of more than 130 replacement candidates, Bustamante led the Times poll with 35 percent of those surveyed. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percent.

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the leading Republican candidate in the field, trailed with 22 percent, followed by GOP state Sen. Tom McClintock with 12 percent. McClintock told CNN Tuesday that "the momentum is on my side."

"I've gone the last three weeks from an asterisk in the polls to double digits," McClintock said. "Meanwhile, Arnold Schwarzenegger, with unprecedented media coverage, has been absolutely dead in the water. He has consistently polled in the low- to mid-20s."

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