Key endorsements: A who's who in early states

Key endorsements: A who's who in early states
© Getty Images

Democrats in the crowded presidential race are scrambling for key endorsements in the early primary states, beginning with House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who will host his South Carolina fish fry on Friday.

Clyburn is one of a handful of influential Democrats whose endorsements could boost candidates battling for attention and support in the first four primary and caucus states that will get to vote ahead of Super Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Here’s a who’s who of the most important remaining coveted endorsements in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

 

IOWA

Former Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinWisconsin lawmaker gets buzz-cut after vowing not to cut hair until sign language bill passed Democratic debates kick off Iowa summer sprint Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE

Former Sen. Tom Harkin was a major fixture in Iowa politics for more than 30 years, serving as the state’s senator and congressman.

Seventeen Democrats, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it Trump whistleblower complaint involves Ukraine: report MORE, the current front-runner, are on tap to attend the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry, which Harkin hosted for decades prior to 2014 under a different name.

He endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGiuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it Sanders hits 1 million donors Democrats will not beat Trump without moderate policy ideas MORE in 2015. It’s unclear whether he will pick somebody this year because of his nonpartisan role at the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Iowa’s Drake University.

 

Fred Hubbell

While Fred Hubbell narrowly lost his gubernatorial bid to Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) in 2018, he has built an enviable fundraising infrastructure in the state.

It is not yet known whether he will endorse in 2020. Biden campaigned with Hubbell during his gubernatorial run in 2018.

 

Rep. David Loebsack

Loebsack, who has served seven terms, won reelection in 2016 even as his district went for Trump.

Though he will retire in 2020, his endorsement is sought after. Loebsack hosted a fundraising event during the 2018 midterm elections, which was attended by three Democratic presidential hopefuls: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum MORE, Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellDemocrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate MORE (Calif.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardKavanaugh book author on impeachment calls: 'That's not our determination to make' Trump's 'soldier of fortune' foreign policy Beto needs to revive talk about his 'war tax' proposal MORE (Hawaii).

 

J.D. Scholten

The former Democratic congressional candidate came close to unseating longtime Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingOcasio-Cortez rips Steve King after he shares video drinking from toilet-fountain hybrid at border Steve King says he drank from toilet at detention center Steve King jokes about China forcing Muslims to eat pork MORE (R) during the 2018 midterms.

He has also proven himself to be a valuable fundraiser. His campaign raised more than $900,000 in the week before the election, fueled by more than 30,000 individual donors.

 

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE

Vilsack served as governor of the Hawkeye State from 1999 to 2007 before former President Obama appointed him to lead the Department of Agriculture.

He was the first member of Obama’s Cabinet to endorse Clinton in 2016. This year he warned Democrats to not underestimate President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE.

 

The Des Moines Register’s editorial board

The Des Moines Register has become a national source for all political news coming out of the Hawkeye State.

The paper’s editorial board endorsed Clinton ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucuses and again for the general election.

 

Iowa Asian and Latino Coalition

The Iowa Asian and Latino Coalition has become a primary destination for 2020 Democratic contenders headed to the state.

The group has been visited by the likes of Buttigieg, Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockNew poll finds Biden, Warren in virtual tie in Iowa Gabbard drives coverage in push to qualify for October debate Partisan divisions sharpen as independent voters fade MORE, New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioPatagonia says to shut stores for a few hours during Global Climate Strike Nearly 60 US mayors pen op-ed backing Buttigieg's 2020 bid Gabbard drives coverage in push to qualify for October debate MORE, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTwo former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Strippers, 'Hustlers' and the Democratic debates 2020 Dems honor Emily Clyburn MORE (Calif.) and author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonOvernight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Williamson: Climate change result of an 'amoral' economic system Overnight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks MORE.

The group told The Hill they plan to make a formal endorsement in August.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Concord Mayor Jim Bouley

Bouley was elected to a sixth term as the mayor of New Hampshire’s capital in 2017.

The mayor joined numerous other mayors across the country, including de Blasio, in endorsing Clinton ahead of the New Hampshire primary in the last presidential election.

 

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig

Craig made history in 2017 when she became the first woman elected Manchester mayor, ending 12 years of Republican control in the city.

Democratic presidential hopeful John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyWilliamson: Climate change result of an 'amoral' economic system The Hill Interview: Sanford says Trump GOP doing 'serious brand destruction' Krystal Ball: Reality debunks Biden's 'Medicare for all' smear MORE, a former Democratic congressman from Maryland, has ties to Craig, having campaigned with her during her mayoral bid in 2017.

 

State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro

D’Allesandro has represented New Hampshire’s 20th District in the state Senate since 1998. Prior to his time in the legislature, he served in the state’s House of Representatives from 1996 to 1998.

New Hampshire Public Radio reported last year that D’Allesandro considers himself a political “kingmaker” in the state.

D’Allesandro told the Daily Beast that he has met with seven Democratic presidential candidates so far.

 

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess

Donchess was elected mayor of Nashua in 2015 after originally stepping down from the post in 1992.

The mayor endorsed Clinton ahead of the state’s 2016 primary and has already met with Buttigieg and de Blasio.

 

Dudley Dudley

A longtime New Hampshire Democratic activist, Dudley has a lengthy history of making presidential endorsements, especially of insurgent primary candidates.

She endorsed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Krystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all MORE (I-Vt.) over Clinton in 2016 and former Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.) in 1992. Dudley also launched the 1980 Draft Kennedy campaign, urging then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to challenge President Carter.

Dudley endorsed Obama in 2008. She told the Concord Monitor in March that she had not yet made a decision on who to endorse in the 2020 primary.

 

Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Lawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks MORE

Hassan won election to the Senate in 2016 by defeating incumbent Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (R) after serving as governor of New Hampshire for four years.

She endorsed Clinton in 2016. It remains unclear whether she will endorse anybody ahead of her state’s primary.

Hassan’s fellow Democratic senator from New Hampshire, Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenCruz endorses GOP candidate for Senate in New Hampshire Meghan McCain: Lewandowski Senate run would be 'an absolutely ridiculous crap show' Super PAC targets Lewandowski with ad amid Senate speculation MORE, has ruled out endorsing any of the Democratic candidates.

 

Rep. Ann KusterAnn McLane KusterHouse Democrats inch toward majority support for impeachment Katherine Clark quietly eyes leadership ascent Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE

Kuster has been in Congress since 2013 after ousting Rep. Charles Bass (R).

The congresswoman, who endorsed Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, has an extensive history in New Hampshire campaign politics.

She was a member of the state’s steering committees for then-Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryWarren shows signs of broadening her base Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy The Memo: Democrats struggle to find the strongest swing-state candidate MORE’s (D) 2004 presidential bid, and then for Obama in his first presidential run.

 

State Speaker Steve Shurtleff

Shurtleff has served in the New Hampshire state House since 2004 and has been the House majority and minority leader.

Shurtleff said he received calls from Biden, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all Sanders hits 1 million donors MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Two former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Strippers, 'Hustlers' and the Democratic debates MORE (D-N.J.) after he was elected Speaker.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin

Benjamin made history in 2010 when he became the first African American elected mayor in Columbia.

Benjamin said he plans to make a formal endorsement later this year, according to McClatchy. He supported Clinton in 2016.

 

Rep. James Clyburn

Clyburn has long been an influential figure in Palmetto State politics, especially when it comes to connecting with South Carolina’s sought-after African American vote.

Though the South Carolinian has said he will not make an endorsement in the state’s Democratic primary, state Rep. Bakari Sellers (D) told McClatchy that he believes Clyburn “is tacitly endorsing” Biden.

 

Rep. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamThe Hill Interview: Sanford says Trump GOP doing 'serious brand destruction' Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House approves two bills to block Trump drilling MORE

Cunningham narrowly defeated Republican Katie Arrington in 2018, becoming the first Democratic congressman to represent South Carolina’s 1st District since 1981.

An endorsement from the congressman would be seen as important in the deep-red state.

 

Former Gov. Jim Hodges

Hodges has a long history in South Carolina Democratic politics, having served as governor from 1999 to 2003, and in the state House of Representatives.

He has backed longshot candidates before, including former NATO Commander Wesley Clark in 2004, and he even signed a petition supporting Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all The Memo: Biden's rivals search for right mode of attack MORE’s satirical run in 2008, arguing the comedian was bringing “a sense of levity to politics that’s needed.”

But he endorsed Obama in 2008 and then Clinton in the last presidential election.

 

Carol and Don Fowler

The importance of the power couple in the state was made clear after The Post and Courier reported that their home has been graced by Democratic hopefuls including Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandTwo years after Maria, Puerto Rico awaits disaster funds Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDemocrats will not beat Trump without moderate policy ideas Harris revamps campaign presence in Iowa Sanders, Yang to miss CNN's town hall on LGBTQ issues MORE (D-Minn.), as well as de Blasio.

Don Fowler served as the chairman of the state’s Democratic Party from 1971 to 1980, and later served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1995 to 1997. Carol Fowler led South Carolina’s Democratic Party from 2007 to 2011.

Don backed Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary, while Carol threw her support behind Obama.

 

NEVADA

Former Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa

Del Papa made history twice in Nevada — winning election as the state’s first female secretary of state in 1986 and the first female attorney general of the state in 1990.

While she retired in 2002, she has been active in Nevada Democratic presidential politics.

She worked as the co-chairwoman for Clinton’s presidential campaign in Nevada in 2008, according to the Las Vegas Sun, and supported her candidacy again in 2016.

 

Rep. Steven HorsfordSteven Alexander HorsfordThe Hill's Campaign Report: Pressure builds for Democrats who missed third debate cut Key endorsements: A who's who in early states T.I., Charlamagne Tha God advocate for opportunity zones on Capitol Hill MORE

Horsford made history in 2013 when he became the first African American to represent the Silver State in Congress.

He was defeated by a Republican challenger in 2014, though he regained his seat in 2018.

Before his time on Capitol Hill, Horsford served in the state Senate from 2005 to 2013. He was the first African American to be majority leader in the state.

 

Former Gov. Bob Miller

Miller is the longest-serving governor in Nevada’s history, holding the post from 1989 to 1999, and was the last Democrat to hold the post until Gov. Steve Sisolak was elected in 2018.

Miller backed Clinton in 2008 and 2016.

 

Gov. Steve Sisolak

Sisolak took office as governor of Nevada as part of the state’s blue wave in 2018.

Sisolak has long ties to the state’s organized labor groups, a relationship that helped him defeat the Republican candidate, Attorney General Adam Laxalt, in 2018.

Before serving as governor, Sisolak served as the chair of the Clarke County Commission, which includes the Las Vegas Strip as part of its jurisdiction.

Biden campaigned for Sisolak and current Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford during the 2018 campaign.

 

Rep. Dina TitusAlice (Dina) Costandina TitusMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis House Democrats inch toward majority support for impeachment Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE

Titus has been active in Nevada politics since 1988 when she was first elected to the Nevada state Senate, where she served as minority leader from 1993 to 2008.

She was first elected to Congress in 2008 but lost her 2010 reelection bid to represent the state’s 3rd District. She came back to the House in 2013 after switching to Nevada’s 1st District due to redistricting. 

Titus immediately endorsed Clinton when she launched her presidential campaign in April of 2015.

 

The Culinary Workers Union

Democratic presidential hopefuls have already begun to court the Culinary Union, which boasts a membership of 60,000.

The group is seen as one of the state’s most influential unions, stretching into Nevada’s vast hospitality and service industry.

While the union did not endorse Clinton or Sanders in the 2016 primary, it did throw its weight behind Obama in 2008.

The union’s former political director, state Sen. Yvanna Cancela (D), endorsed Biden in April.

 

NOT INCLUDED: Sens. Catherine Cortez-Masto and Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Senators introduce legislation to boost cyber defense training in high school Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE and former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBarr fails to persuade Cruz on expanded background checks Harry Reid warns Trump 'can be reelected' Homeland Security Republican accuses Navy of withholding UFO info MORE.

All three Nevada politicians have made clear they will not endorse a candidate until after the state’s caucuses.