Ross racks up endorsements from DSCC, liberal groups in Dem. primary

U.S. Senate candidate Deborah Ross.

U.S. Senate candidate Deborah Ross.

RALEIGH – Former state Rep. Deborah Ross is racking up endorsements from establishment and left-leaning groups, but at least one of her opponents says that those endorsements are a reason not to vote for Ross.

Ross has secured the endorsement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, EMILY’s List, and the AFL-CIO. The winner of the March 15 Democratic primary will vie to win the seat of Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who was first elected to the Senate in 2004.

The DSCC, the U.S. Senate’s Democratic caucus committee, said that Ross “will fight to grow the middle class, build an economy that works for everyone and protect the services like Medicare and Social Security that our seniors rely on.”

The endorsement drew fire from Kevin Griffin, the Durham businessman who is one of Ross’ opponents in the primary.

“It is unfortunate that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has chosen to undermine the will of North Carolina Democratic Primary voters and make an endorsement in this race for the U.S. Senate,” Griffin wrote in a statement. “In this state, and all across the country, people are fed up with Washington’s brand of politics as usual.”

Griffin has previously said that Ross’ former position as a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union will hurt her as a candidate in the general election. Now Ross has added EMILY’s List and the AFL-CIO to her camp.

The N.C. AFL-CIO is headquartered in Raleigh.

The N.C. AFL-CIO is headquartered in Raleigh.

EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock called Ross a “lifelong champion for North Carolina women and families.” EMILY’s List is an organization that backs female candidates who favor abortion rights. The group spent heavily in the 2014 Senate race that pitted then-Sen. Kay Hagan against Thom Tillis.

The North Carolina State AFL-CIO’s executive board also voted to endorse Ross, along with Roy Cooper, Linda Coleman and others. Although North Carolina is the least unionized state in the nation, the labor union group’s endorsement likely means resources flowing from the federation’s nationwide membership.