Two former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden

Two former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden
© Greg Nash

A pair of former chairmen of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) — Democratic Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.) and G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldDemocrats likely to gain seats under new North Carolina maps North Carolina poised to pass new congressional maps Black leaders say African American support in presidential primary is fluid MORE (N.C.) — endorsed Joe BidenJoe BidenThe media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Top Zelensky aide refutes Sondland testimony The great AI debate: What candidates are (finally) saying about artificial intelligence MORE's 2020 bid this week, demonstrating the former vice president's strong ties to the black community.

Butterfield told The Associated Press in an interview published Thursday that he did not believe Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Buttigieg surrogate on candidate's past consulting work: 'I don't think it matters' Steyer rolls out 5B plan to invest in historically black colleges MORE (D-Mass.) or Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate The media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Steyer rolls out 5B plan to invest in historically black colleges MORE (I-Vt.) could win his home state of North Carolina in a general election against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe MORE because their policies were too progressive. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“[Biden] can connect with the average American — black, white or brown,” Butterfield told the news service. “Warren and Sanders cannot win North Carolina."

“I have great respect for both of them, but they cannot win North Carolina. Joe Biden can," he continued. 

Cleaver said in a separate interview with the AP that he told Biden that states like Missouri would be must-win in 2020. 

"I told him, ’If you are the nominee, you have to campaign everywhere; you cannot surrender any geography to Mr. Trump,'” Cleaver said. “He assured me he will not do that.”

Cleaver and Butterfield join former CBC Chairman Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondBooker unveils legislation for federal bill to ban discrimination against natural hair Hillicon Valley: Senators ask Trump to halt Huawei licenses | Warren criticizes Zuckerberg over secret dinner with Trump | Senior DHS cyber official to leave | Dems offer bill on Libra oversight Senior DHS cyber official to step down MORE (D-La.) in endorsing Biden. 

Biden has a strong lead with black voters in a number of polls, which will likely help him in the critical early primary state of South Carolina. 

Biden's deep support among African American voters could also hinder the 2020 campaigns of Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Krystal Ball: Media turns on Buttigieg, will this end him? Senate Democrats demand Trump fire Stephen Miller MORE (D-Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate Steyer rolls out 5B plan to invest in historically black colleges The great AI debate: What candidates are (finally) saying about artificial intelligence MORE (D-N.J.), who are both black. 

Cleaver told the AP that he "struggled" with the endorsement decision, and said “there are others that I’m closer to” than the former vice president. 

“I have nothing negative to say about them at all. I hugged both of them Saturday night," he continued, referring to Booker and Harris at the CBC gala.