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Gallego endorsed by AFL-CIO in CD7 race

Arizona state representative and assistant minority leader Ruben Gallego acknowledges the media during a press conference before the Phoenix premiere of "Cesar Chavez", on Thursday, March, 13, 2014, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri/Invision/AP)

Arizona state representative and assistant minority leader Ruben Gallego acknowledges the media during a press conference before the Phoenix premiere of “Cesar Chavez”, on Thursday, March, 13, 2014, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri/Invision/AP)

One candidate is pulling ahead in the race to replace retiring Congressman Ed Pastor – at least when it comes to union endorsement.

Former Rep. Ruben Gallego, who resigned his legislative seat to run in the 7th Congressional District, today secured the support of the AFL-CIO, the state’s largest labor federation.

Gallego faces Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, and Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox in what’s expected to be a hotly contested Democratic primary.

“Democrats in the 7th Congressional District are fortunate to have some of the best candidates in the state,” Rebekah Friend, the federation’s Executive Director and Secretary-Treasurer, said in a written statement. “But Ruben Gallego is hands down the best of the best. He has a distinguished record of service to our country and a clear commitment to our state’s middle-class families who have been suffering for years now.”

Political consultants have long noted the importance of union endorsement in CD7, where they said labor wields significant influence.

Gallego earlier received the backing of Local 99 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, which is Arizona’s largest private sector union.

But AFL-CIO’s backing is even more coveted, as the group boasts of being the umbrella organization for some 200 individual labor groups representing over 180,000 members and their families.

“By endorsing Ruben Gallego for Congress, the Arizona AFL-CIO is making a commitment to doing everything possible to help him become as solid a voice for labor in Washington as he has been at the State Capitol,” Friend said.

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