Sarah Steelman Shows Why Republicans Shouldn't Trust Labor Unions

Sarah Steelman is one of two contenders for the Republican nomination to face Democrat Robin Carnahan in Missouri’s open Senate seat next year. (Roy Blunt is the other.) To the surprise of absolutely no one, Jimmy Hoffa was in Missouri today to endorse the Democrat Carnahan:

Robin Carnahan appeared with Teamsters president Jim Hoffa in KC this afternoon after picking up the union’s endorsement for the Senate seat being vacated by Kit Bond.

Does this seem like a complete non-story? It would be, except for one thing. Sarah Steelman used to be a supporter of the labor movement. In her 2002 Senate race, she was endorsed by the UAW, the SEIU, and other unions. She received multiple donations from union leaders. And prior to that – in March, 2000 – she appeared at an event with Jimmy Hoffa and then-Governor Mel Carnahan (Jean Carnahan’s father). By the time of this rally, Carnahan had long since declared his campaign against incumbent John Ashcroft, so Steelman was appearing with Jimmy Hoffa and the Democrat Senate candidate. From Westlaw:

March 4, 2000 Saturday
HEADLINE: Union calls today’s rally historic
BYLINE: Kallaos Tamlya, Staff
Labor leaders say they are expecting strong support from the Springfield community.
By Tamlya Kallaos

As Teamsters leaders from Springfield and Washington, D.C. pieced together final details of today’s rally for working families, they said the event is historic for Springfield.

The presence of James P. Hoffa is momentous in itself, said Carin Zelanko, Teamsters assistant director of the corporate and strategic initiatives office. Hoffa is usually front-and-center in national labor conflicts.

Today, though, he’ll be in Springfield to speak at Hammons Student Center, spreading the message that Teamsters will fight outsourcing to save union jobs at Associated Wholesale Grocers plants in Springfield and Kansas City. Associated on Friday declined to comment…

*Key speakers: Jim Kabell, business manager of the local; Gov. Mel Carnahan; state Reps. Craig Hosmer and Mark Wright; state Sens. Sarah Steelman and Joe Maxwell.

Steelman benefited from her association with the labor unions early in her career, but in the end they’ve returned to form.