POLITICS

Firefighters Union Holds Off Endorsing After Biden Decides Not To Run

IAFF says it will wait until next year to to decide whether to back a presidential candidate.
The IAFF had planned to back Vice President Joe Biden had he decided to run for president.
The IAFF had planned to back Vice President Joe Biden had he decided to run for president.

WASHINGTON -- The powerful International Association of Firefighters has decided not to endorse a candidate for president this year, now that Vice President Joe Biden has decided not to run. 

“While we believe he would be a great President of the United States, in the end Joe decided not to run, and our union will now hold our powder dry and likely wait until the New Year to consider any decisions on any future endorsement," IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger said in a statement to The Huffington Post. 

Earlier this month, the union backed off an initial plan to endorse Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton amid reports that Biden, who has strong labor ties, was thinking of jumping into the race. 

“When our union decided that we would endorse Joe Biden for President if he entered the race, we did so knowing he was going through a very deliberate process of checking the boxes to determine whether he would be able to run the kind of campaign it takes to win in terms of infrastructure, money and constituencies, and while he made that final gut decision on whether to run," Schaitberger added. 

According to The New York Times, Schaitberger worried that endorsing Clinton may upset some of IAFF's membership, which leans Republican. The union, however, traditionally endorses Democrats because of their pro-labor positions. 

Although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also has a long history of supporting labor rights, Clinton has so far accumulated far more union endorsements, including from the American Federation of Teachers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

The Clinton campaign declined to comment. 


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  • Bernie Sanders
    “Joe Biden, a good friend, has made the decision that he feels is best for himself, his family and the country. I thank
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    “Joe Biden, a good friend, has made the decision that he feels is best for himself, his family and the country. I thank the vice president for a lifetime of public service and for all that he has done for our nation. I look forward to continuing to work with him to address the major crises we face. He understands the need to rebuild the middle class; and to address income and wealth inequality, a corrupt campaign finance system, climate change, racial justice, immigration reform and the need for publicly-funded higher education.”
  • Hillary Clinton
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    "Vice President Joe Biden is a very good and decent man who has served our country nobly, and his experience would have been
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    "Vice President Joe Biden is a very good and decent man who has served our country nobly, and his experience would have been a welcome addition to the Democratic race. I will always admire his strength in the face of adversity and his passion for bettering our country. I respect Vice President Biden's decision today and wish the Vice President and his family well."
  • Donald Trump
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    "I respect and understand the Vice President's decision not to seek the Presidency. As always in his career, Joe Biden i
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    "I respect and understand the Vice President's decision not to seek the Presidency. As always in his career, Joe Biden is putting his family first, and I am confident he will continue to add his important voice to our nation's ongoing debate about security in an uncertain world and opportunity for the middle class.  I support his decision and look forward to continuing to work together."
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    “I have known Joe Biden for decades and I know just the kind of person he is – a wonderful man dedicated to his f
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    “I have known Joe Biden for decades and I know just the kind of person he is – a wonderful man dedicated to his family and to public service. Throughout his long and storied career, Joe has fought many battles. He has long been a strong advocate for the working men and women from Delaware to Nevada. As Senator, through his role on the Foreign Relations Committee, he was a leading voice on some of the toughest foreign policy issues of our time. On the Judiciary Committee, among his many achievements, he authored the landmark Violence Against Women Act, changing the way our communities responded to domestic violence. As Vice President, he has stood by President Obama’s side as we helped our economy and housing market recover, finally passed comprehensive health care reform and took on Wall Street. Joe is a dear friend of mine, he and I share a penchant for candor, and I look forward to working together during these next 15 months.” 
  • Tom Carper
    “I know this was an extraordinarily difficult decision for the Biden family to make. I’ve known Joe for many year
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    “I know this was an extraordinarily difficult decision for the Biden family to make. I’ve known Joe for many years as we worked together to serve the people of Delaware and our country, and I know he has everything it takes to make a great president. He and his family have decided this is not the right time, and it’s my sincere hope that they are at peace with his decision. “In my conversations with Joe over the past several weeks, I encouraged him to listen to his family as they all continue to grieve the terrible loss of their beloved Beau. I know he heard from people across the country who urged him to run and offered to help, but the most important influences on his decision were his wife, Jill, their children and grandchildren, and God. “There are still 15 months left in the Obama Administration, and a full time vice president will go a long way toward getting important things done for the American people. When his time in the White House concludes, Joe will certainly have the opportunity to serve as our ambassador to the world, and I know he’ll continue making a positive difference in all our lives. I also know Beau’s memory and spirit will help him do it.” 
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