The Minnesota Nurses Association endorsed Rep. Erin Murphy’s campaign for governor Wednesday after a vote of the union’s board of directors.

“Nurses decided to endorse Murphy not just because she’s a fellow registered nurse,” said Mary C. Turner, president of MNA. “Nurses decided to endorse Erin because she’s been pivotal in expanding access to health care for thousands of Minnesotans,” she said in a statement.

Murphy, a St. Paul DFLer, was the union’s executive director before her election to the Minnesota House in 2006, so her endorsement was not unexpected.

Still, the first major union endorsement of the campaign gives Murphy campaign foot soldiers as she takes on a crowded field of DFLers seeking the 2018 nomination, including her fellow state Reps. Paul Thissen and Tina Liebling; State Auditor Rebecca Otto; U.S. Rep. Tim Walz; and, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.