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 ButterfieldHouse approves bill banning flavored tobacco products Bill banning menthol in cigarettes divides Democrats, with some seeing racial bias Biden cinches support from third NC House Democrat MORE (N.C.) — endorsed Joe BidenJoe BidenSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Trump defends firing of intel watchdog, calling him a 'disgrace' 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 WarrenDemocrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Biden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE (D-Mass.) or Bernie SandersBernie SandersSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report We're at war and need wartime institutions to keep our economy producing what's necessary Larry David: Bernie Sanders should drop out of 2020 race MORE (I-Vt.) could win his home state of North Carolina in a general election against President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE because their policies were too progressive. 

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“[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 RichmondHillicon Valley: House passes key surveillance bill | Paul, Lee urge Trump to kill FISA deal | White House seeks help from tech in coronavirus fight | Dem urges Pence to counter virus misinformation Lawmakers criticize Trump's slashed budget for key federal cyber agency Government report offers guidelines to prevent nationwide cyber catastrophe 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 HarrisEnlisting tech to fight coronavirus sparks surveillance fears Biden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Is Texas learning to love ObamaCare? MORE (D-Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEnlisting tech to fight coronavirus sparks surveillance fears Democrats urge administration to automatically issue coronavirus checks to more people Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus 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.