The state United Teachers union this afternoon announced its slate of state legislative candidates, backing Democratic Senate challengers in key races in Rochester, Long Island and the Hudson Valley, while also endorsing a Republican facing a primary challenge.

The union, which vehemently opposed the property-tax cap of 2011 and the 2012 Tier Six pension plan, said in a news release that their endorsements weren’t about a specific vote or law.

“We are living in extraordinarily complicated political and fiscal times. That was certainly reflected in the passion and resolve expressed by activists during our discussions,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi.

The union said “no single vote is a litmus test.”

“Activists sorted through the ‘bad votes’ on Tier 6, record budget cuts and the undemocratic property tax cap, but they also weighed the important ‘wins’ — balancing votes that legislators cast on the millionaires’ tax; killing a proposed $250 million competitive grant program for school districts; dramatically increasing funding for SUNY, CUNY and community colleges; and protecting the privacy of teacher evaluations. These are votes that helped students, teachers and New York families, and can serve as building blocks for a better future.”

Overall, the union is taking sides in 43 of the 63 Senate contests and is backing 34 Democrats and nine GOP candidates. The union isn’t endorsing in 20 races. Senate Republicans, who had backed Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the tax cap and Tier Six, also supported Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts on last in, first out.

The group is backing Democratic Senate candidates Ricardo Montano, Justin Wagner, George Latimer and Ted O’Brien. But they’re also endorsing Republicans like Sen. Roy McDonald, who faces a primary challenge from Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione.

NYSUT is also supporting Sen. Neil Breslin, who faces a primary against Shawn Morse.

The union also endorsed all four members of the Independent Democratic Conference, Sens. Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Carlucci and David Valesky.

Nysut Endorsements