Congressman Kendrick Meek (D) picked up the backing of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in his bid for the Senate on Monday.

With its 1.6 million members, AFSCME has a dedicated political arm that has proven to be influential in statewide and national elections.

Meek, who is vying for retiring Sen. Mel Martinez's (R) seat, thanked the group for its endorsement in a statement.

Currently, Meek is facing state Sen. Dan Gelber in the Democratic primary for the seat. Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio