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AFSCME Backing Olson for Governor

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CEDAR RAPIDS Iowa's largest public employee union is promising "old-fashioned shoe leather and old-fashioned knuckles on doors" to nominate and elect Rep. Tyler Olson governor in 2014.

AFSCME, which represents about 40,000 public employees across the state, will "work our tails off to help elect this guy governor," Local 61 President Danny Homan said Wednesday in announcing the union's endorsement of Olson.

Olson, he said, will bring Iowans together to lead them into the future and focus on giving all Iowans the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

Olson, 37, a member of the Iowa House since 2007, said it was an honor to get the endorsement from AFSCME, which he called a strong advocate for working Iowans.

"Those values are the same values I want to take to Terrace Hill," Olson said, referring to the governor's residence.

Although the Democratic primary isn't for nearly eight months, Homan said the union probably should have endorsed earlier. In 2010, it waited too long to endorse former congressman Mike Blouin and saw Secretary of State Chet Culver win the nomination. "[Endorsing earlier might] have made a difference," he said.

Olson will face a primary battle from Sen. Jack Hatch, Homan called "a good friend of this union." Also, former legislator Bob Krause and Paul Dahl are exploring the race.

The endorsement wasn't his decision, Homan said, but made by a committee of AFSCME activists from around the state.

"They just liked Tyler Olson's better than the message Hatch delivered," he said.

They also believed the strength of Olson's campaign organization provided "the best chance to beat Branstad."

Hatch, who unveiled a state tax cut plan Wednesday, also has received labor union endorsements.

"All endorsements are meaningful, but there are a lot of them," he said. "It's just one part of the process. This is early in the campaign."

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