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In a special board meeting, the group overturned its decision not to endorse in the race after O’Rourke failed to appear at the organization's convention last month.
The labor group's president, Rick Levy, said in a Friday news release that O’Rourke’s campaign efforts now warranted AFL-CIO’s support.
“In the last few weeks, Beto O’Rourke has crisscrossed the state, talking to our members and answering tough questions about where he stands on key issues for working people,” Levy said in the release. “His answers to those questions, as well as his strong labor voting record, have demonstrated that he shares our priorities and values.”
O’Rourke said he was unable to attend the convention because of previously scheduled campaign events elsewhere in the state, although he ended up staying in Washington, D.C., due to the government shutdown. Levy told The Texas Tribune in January that members did not like being “taken for granted” and had concerns about the Democrat’s commitment to fighting for working people.
In 2016, the AFL-CIO gave the Democrat a 100 percent rating on his voting record, and his lifetime score is 95 percent. Cruz, R-Texas, received a 67 percent rating in 2016 and has a lifetime score of 12 percent.
“When you fight for working families, as Beto O’Rourke has done, we will fight for you,” Levy said in the Friday news release. “When through your deeds and words you attack working people, immigrants, women, senior citizens, veterans or our communities, as Ted Cruz has consistently done, we will oppose you at every turn.”
O’Rourke is the clear frontrunner in his Democratic primary and — despite not accepting contributions from political action committees — has also been outraising Cruz. On Friday, O'Rourke announced that he raised more than $2.2 million in the first 45 days of 2018. He also beat Cruz $2.4 million to $1.9 million over the fourth quarter in 2017, although Cruz maintains a cash-on-hand advantage.