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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Democrat Hillary Clinton on Monday won the endorsement of the ironworkers’ union, adding to her front-runner status in the race for her party’s U.S. presidential nomination.

“While the council felt that several other candidates align with ironworker values, none compare to Secretary Clinton when it comes to putting those beliefs into practice,” the union said in a statement.

“Clinton’s record of looking out for the jobs that union members rely on was the largest factor in the council’s decision.”

Clinton is working to build a broad coalition within her party now in a bid to avoid a damaging primary fight and enter the general election in November 2016 with a strong base of support.

The unanimous vote on Friday among the ironworkers’ general executive council, announced on Monday, brings to 14 the number of unions that have thrown their weight behind the former secretary of state.

In giving their stamp of approval to Clinton, a number of unions have alluded to their assessment that she is the best-placed Democrat to perhaps win the general election.

Her main rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has deep ties to the labor movement, but he has struggled to gain lasting traction against Clinton. In addition, his self-imposed label as a democratic socialist can be confusing or concerning to many voters.

“Secretary Clinton’s unmatched experience in government will enable her to deliver on her promises in ways the other candidates cannot,” the ironworkers said on Monday.

Clinton has support from 49 percent of her party for the nomination, versus 34 percent for Sanders, according to a rolling 5-day Reuters/Ipsos poll dated Nov. 20.

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign stop at Clinton Middle School in Clinton, Iowa, November 22, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich . SAP is the sponsor of this coverage which is independently produced by the staff of Reuters News Agency.

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