In addition to several high profile endorsements, T.J. Donovan collected the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO endorsement earlier this month.
This union represents over 10,000 workers.
The 2012 Democratic primary will likely see approximately 40,000 voters. Roughly 36,000 Vermont Democrats voted in the '06 primary. The 2006 primary was a typical year relative to turnout and had similar dynamics to this year's expected turnout. A record high 74,000 voted in 2010 as a result of the Shumlin/Markowitz/Racine/Dunne/Bartlett primary. Don't expect to see anything close to those numbers this year, however. 2010's numbers were the result of several highly skilled organizations in combination with millions of dollars invested in grass roots organization, voter i.d., GOTV and media.
This year's voter turnout will be closer to 40,000 votes. Given the likely voter pool, a union that can motivate a few thousand of its rank and file members (or member households) is in a substantial position to tip the election. A bump of 4,000 - 5,000 labor related votes would likely be the difference between Attorney General Donovan or Attorney General Sorrell.
If the Vermont State Labor Council shows ballots-in-the-box muscle, it will also demonstrate immense influence within a contested Democratic primary. Tipping the scales for Donovan would have long-term political benefits for the Vermont Labor Council.
The other endorsements show that T.J. is convincingly presenting his message to influential constituencies in the policy making arena. This labor endorsement, however, demonstrates important constituency support AND, critically, ballot box influence too.
If it delivers to the Donovan campaign, the Vermont Labor Council/AFL-CIO endorsement is a huge opportunity for Labor to pocket a fist-full of political capital.