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Breaking News: Big Nevada service union endorses Obama

January 9, 2008 | 12:05 am

On the night that he came in second in the New Hampshire primary, Barack Obama came in first with the Nevada chapter of the large Service Employees International Union. He won that important union's official endorsement a few minutes ago.

The influential union's 17,500 health care and county worker members will come in very handy for Nevada's Jan. 19 caucuses. The union's choice will come as a serious disappointment for both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, who both coveted it too. And the timing late tonight is likely no accident.

Union president Vicky Hedderman said just before midnight that the union's decision came during a late-night conference call of the executive board Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. But the timing of such a rapid news release without elaborate media attendance comes as a convenient public relations counterpunch to Clinton's narrow New Hampshire election win Tuesday night.

It also gets the SEIU endorsement in ahead of another anticipated Obama endorsement Wednesday by Nevada's Culinary Workers Union, Local 226, which has 60,000 members.

Hedderman said Obama is a candidate "who could take the campaign all the way to November."

Obama has previously received the endorsement of SEIU state councils and locals in five states, including Illinois. Edwards has won the endorsement of SEIU's California State Council, which could make its 600,000 members available to help him.

Under SEIU union rules, the Nevada endorsement allows SEIU locals in other states to lend volunteers and resources to its Nevada counterpart on behalf of Obama.

Ten days left.

-- Andrew Malcolm