- AFT members chose Clinton by a three-to-one margin, union says
- The endorsement is not a surprise, as the AFT also backed Clinton in 2007
The endorsement is not a surprise, as the AFT also backed Clinton in 2007 in her primary battle against then-Sen. Barack Obama, but it is the first national union to endorse a candidate in the 2016 Democratic primary.
"In vision, in experience and in leadership, Hillary Clinton is the champion working families need in the White House," AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement. "Hillary understands that to reclaim the promise of public education, policymakers need to work with educators and their unions."
According to the AFT, Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley also sought their endorsement, but members of the union chose Clinton by a three-to-one margin.
Clinton, through a statement released by her campaign, said she was honored to have the support of the AFT.
"We need to make sure every child has access to a quality public education and teachers with the tools to help them succeed," Clinton said. "The men and women of AFT work throughout our communities in our preschools, K-12 schools, hospitals, colleges and universities, and public agencies. Their voices and the voices of all workers are essential to this country."
A union's endorsement provides candidates with an extra boost in grassroots work, with members often helping to canvass neighborhoods and work the phones in the run-up to an election.
"Leading up to November 2016, AFT members are expected to make more than 1 million phone calls and knock on more than 500,000 doors," the AFT said in its statement announcing the endorsement.