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Hillary Clinton picks up major union endorsement

The candidate's good week just got better: She earned the official backing of AFSCME, a massive public sector union.

Hillary Clinton’s good week just got better: She just picked up the endorsement of AFSCME, the massive public sector union whose support was coveted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s top rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The union’s 35-person International Executive Board had met with each of the Democratic candidates and nearly two-thirds voted to endorse Clinton, the union announced Friday.

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“What we heard throughout our endorsement process is that AFSCME members want a candidate who is committed to fixing our out-of-balance economy,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a statement. “What we also heard was AFSCME members want the candidate who will be the most effective champion for working families, and who will be able to deliver a victory in this critically important election. AFSCME members believe that candidate is Hillary Clinton.”

AFSCME claims to be the nation’s largest and fastest growing public services employees union, with more than 1.6 million active and retired members.

“Thanks for your support, brothers & sisters of @AFSCME. You never stop fighting for working families, & I'll never stop fighting for you,” Clinton said in a personalized tweet.

While the union did not mention his name, many in the labor community were waiting to see whether Vice President Joe Biden would enter the race. He bowed out in a press conference on Wednesday. 

Clinton has already been endorsed by both of the nation’s major teachers’ unions, as well a host of construction workers unions. Meanwhile, Sanders, who has long had a close relationship with organized labor, has picked up the endorsement of a major nurses union and several smaller unions. 

The ultimate prize, however, will be the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, the federation that represents most of the country’s labor unions. Both candidates met with the federation’s board this summer, but an endorsement may not come until it’s clear whom the Democratic Party will nominate.

It’s the latest bit of good news for Clinton’s once faltering presidential campaign, following a strong showing in last weeks’ debate, Biden’s decision, and her composed performance during 11 hours of testimony before the House Benghazi Committee Thursday. 

Now she'll have to show she can fire up Iowa grassroots Democrats Saturday at the state party's annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner, where then-Sen. Barack Obama proved in 2007 that he could be a real threat to Clinton.