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 see whistleblower report as smoking gun Democrats dread Kennedy-Markey showdown in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's new controversy MORE (N.C.) — endorsed Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Warren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails 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 WarrenWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax MORE (D-Mass.) or Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Sanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Democratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire' MORE (I-Vt.) could win his home state of North Carolina in a general election against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails 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 RichmondTwo former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Election security funds caught in crosshairs of spending debate Lawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks 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 HarrisClinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Poll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Trump declines to participate in Weather Channel 2020 climate change special MORE (D-Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerPoll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Trump declines to participate in Weather Channel 2020 climate change special Bennet: Warren 'not being honest about' her 'Medicare for All' plan 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.