The powerful health care workers union SEIU 1199 has been a heavy hitter in New York elections for years now. But it’s largely focused this election cycle on trying to get President Obama re-elected. (The union is advertising its preference on the side of its Times Square HQ, as spokeswoman Leah Gonzalez put it, “making use of prime real estate”).


Gonzalez herself is on the ground in the battleground state of Virginia, as is 1199 President George Gresham. (It’s his home state).

A group of 1199ers are staying in the same hotel as a bevy of Republican operatives and volunteers. So far, no fights have been reported, but the bar is definitely “tribalized,” Gonzalez said.

The union also sent 450 volunteers to Philadelphia from New York City today, where they will be lending a hand in the last-minute GOTV effort. Some of these folks apparently had to wait on long lines for gasoline, as a result of the Sandy-inspired fueld shortage.

In addition, 1199 has people on the ground in Florida, and members of its Massachusetts office (located in Mitt Romney’s home state) are headed to New Hampshire (where the Romneys have a summer home).

Here in New York, 1199 endorsed three Democrats in active state Senate races – Assemblyman George Latimer, Sen. Joe Addabbo and Monroe County Legislator Ted O’Brien – and four Republican candidates – Sen. Marty Golden, Sen. Mark Grisanti, Sen. Kemp Hannon and and Sen. Steve Saland.

The union is also involved in a number of competitive New York House races, with a particular focus on NY-18 (where Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney is trying to unseat Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth), and NY-19, where Democrat Julian Schreibman is trying to oust Republican Rep. Chris Gibson.

For the full 1199 endorsement list, click here.