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Obama picks up union backing in Nevada
Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday January 9, 2008 | StumbleUpon
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Hillary Clinton's campaign may have risen from the grave Tuesday night, but the race for the Democratic presidential nomination remains close as candidates prepare for the next rounds of primaries and caucuses.

Barack Obama, who was blocked from back-to-back upsets with his defeat in New Hampshire, is by no means out of the race, and Wednesday brought news that the Illinois Senator had secured the backing of two key labor unions in Nevada, which holds its caucuses Jan. 19.

Despite his narrow 39-to-36 percent loss Tuesday, Obama still picked up the endorsements of the Culinary Workers and Service Employees International unions. ABC reports that the Culinary backing is "seen as the biggest get" in Nevada. Many of its 60,000 members work in the massive hotels and casinos along the Las Vegas strip, and they will provide key support in the caucuses, which are only expected to draw 40,000 voters.

Those unions will contribute to Obama's organization in Nevada and elsewhere. Campaign manager David Plouffe bragged in a strategy memo Wednesday that Obama was better organized in caucus states and continued to raise money and attract volunteers, including a half-million-dollar haul Wednesday morning alone.

In the 4th Quarter of 2007, our campaign raised $23.5 million over $22.5 million of which is for the primary election. In that quarter, we added 111,000 new donors for a total of 475,000 donors in 2007. In the first 8 days of 2008, we raised over $8 million and gained 35,000 new donors. Since midnight last night, we have raised another $500,000 online. We continue to build a grassroots movement that makes us best-positioned to compete financially in the primaries and caucuses coming up.

The SEIU ended a "tortured process that unveiled infighting within its ranks" in voting to endorse Obama over former Sen. John Edwards, who picked up 17 percent of New Hampshire's vote in his third-place finish, reports the Las Vegas Sun. The union had previously dismissed Clinton from consideration.

Obama has long courted the unions, and their support could help the freshman senator score a key victory next Saturday that could help him regain some momentum lost Tuesday night. A week later, on Jan. 26, voters in South Carolina vote in their primary; pre-New Hampshire polls showed Obama with a solid lead there.

Whatever happens in those two states, observers see the next and perhaps definitive showdown between Clinton and Obama coming Feb. 5, when more than 20 states hold primaries.