Key endorsements: A who's who in early states

Key endorsements: A who's who in early states
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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.


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



Former Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinTrump's trial a major test for McConnell, Schumer New Hampshire parochialism, not whiteness, bedevils Democrats Democrats must question possible political surveillance 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 BidenTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir 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 ClintonGOP senator says idea that Ukraine interfered in US election is 'not a conspiracy theory' Cotton: Democrats are 'upset that their witnesses haven't said what they want them to say' Trump's troubles won't end with a Senate acquittal 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 ButtigiegPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Buttigieg on polarization: 'We don't have to choose between being bold and being unified' Buttigieg: America 'united in mourning' Kobe Bryant's death MORE, Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellMartha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Enes Kanter sees political stardom — after NBA and WWE Swalwell pens op-ed comparing Trump impeachment to XYZ Affair MORE (Calif.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardYang qualifies for New Hampshire debate stage Poll: Bernie Sanders holds 9-point lead in New Hampshire The establishment scam of 'unity' MORE (Hawaii).


J.D. Scholten

The former Democratic congressional candidate came close to unseating longtime Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingNebraska Democratic Party Chair: Rural vote should be 'bedrock' of party With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Steve King challenger: 2020 Democrats have 'huge' opportunity to win over rural America 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 TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir 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 BullockBrent Budowsky: Bloomberg should give billion to Democrats Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Kamala Harris dropped out, but let's keep her mental health plan alive MORE, New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge New York City bans cashless businesses How far will New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio go to protect undocumented aliens? MORE, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Harris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' Panel: Is Kamala Harris a hypocrite for mulling a Joe Biden endorsement? MORE (Calif.) and author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson says she supports Yang in Iowa caucuses Patrick backs reparations in unveiling 'Equity Agenda for Black Americans' Marianne Williamson drops out of 2020 race MORE.

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




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 DelaneyBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules Elizabeth Warren moves 'bigly' to out-trump Trump 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 SandersPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint 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) HassanCyberattacks against North Dakota state government skyrocket to 15M per month Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Bipartisan group of senators introduces legislation to boost state cybersecurity leadership 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 Shaheen2020 forecast: A House switch, a slimmer Senate for GOP — and a bigger win for Trump Lewandowski decides against Senate bid Biden would consider Republican for VP 'but I can't think of one right now' MORE, has ruled out endorsing any of the Democratic candidates.


Rep. Ann KusterAnn McLane KusterBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate Cast and crew of 'Unbelievable' join lawmakers to advocate for reducing DNA, rape kit backlog 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 KerryDemocratic debates are magnet for lobbyists The Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Bring on the brokered convention 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 WarrenPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Black caucus in Nevada: 'Notion that Biden has all of black vote is not true' The Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two MORE (D-N.J.) after he was elected Speaker.



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 CunninghamHouse Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi plans to send impeachment articles next week The lawmakers who bucked their parties on the war powers resolution 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 ColbertInvesting in our people to get the most out of our city Yang: I've received about 12 apologies from media networks during campaign Scarborough to GOP: 'What job is worth selling your political soul over?' 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 GillibrandGOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-N.Y.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint 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.



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 HorsfordDemocrats launch bilingual ad campaign off drug pricing bill Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising Mass shootings have hit 158 House districts so far this year 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 TitusBiden picks up first endorsement from Iowa congressional delegation The US needs to lead again on disability rights Krystal Ball: New Biden ad is everything that's wrong with Democrats 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 RosenSenate confirms Trump's 50th circuit judge, despite 'not qualified' rating Hillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data Senators introduce bill to create 'parity' among broadband programs MORE and former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum The Trumpification of the federal courts Trump to rally evangelicals after critical Christianity Today editorial MORE.

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