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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 ButterfieldCongress must protect kidney disease patients during the COVID-19 pandemic The time for HELP is now: Senate should pass bill to expedite recovery following natural disasters Rep. Clyburn on Confederate statues: Mob action is no answer MORE (N.C.) — endorsed Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus 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 WarrenFinal debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit Biden defends his health plan from Trump attacks Progressives blast Biden plan to form panel on Supreme Court reform MORE (D-Mass.) or Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Trump's debate performance was too little, too late Final debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit MORE (I-Vt.) could win his home state of North Carolina in a general election against President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' 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 RichmondThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump combative, Biden earnest during distanced TV duel Cedric Richmond's next move: 'Sky's the limit' if Biden wins Democrats preview strategy on Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week 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 HarrisSanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Watch live: Biden participates in HBCU homecoming Jennifer Aniston: 'It's not funny to vote for Kanye' MORE (D-Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority 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.