Biden wins endorsement from prominent African American legislator in Florida

Biden wins endorsement from prominent African American legislator in Florida
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Democratic presidential candidate 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 won the endorsement of a top black legislator in Florida this week as the former vice president seeks to gin up support in the crucial swing state. 

Biden clinched the endorsement of Audrey Gibson, the top Democrat in the Florida state Senate. Florida’s March 17 primary could prove crucial should the nominating contest last that long, with its 219 delegates possibly emerging as a boost after several states hold their primaries and caucuses in February. 

“We’ve already seen what a neophyte does,” Gibson told the Tampa Bay Times in a reference to 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. “Our country can’t take any more of that.”

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“There is a draw to Joe Biden that you can feel and you know him and believe in what he’s saying.”

Neither the Biden campaign nor Gibson immediately responded to requests for comment from The Hill. 

While Gibson had stayed on the sidelines as many of her state colleagues lined up behind Biden, she said she was always leaning toward the former vice president in part due to his tenure in the Obama administration. 

The key endorsement passed over 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.), the two African American candidates in the 2020 primary field.

“I understand he’s not an African American, everybody understands that part,” Gibson told Politico, which was the first to report on the endorsement. “That doesn’t mean he cannot be communicative and be focused on issues that impact certain African American communities.”

“You don’t have to be an African American to have an understanding of what folks go through.” 

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The endorsement represents an intersection of two key groups that Biden has sought to court: black voters and Florida state legislators. Besides Jones, the former vice president has won the support of several black state lawmakers, including state Reps. Ramon Alexander, Tracie Davis, Wengay Newton, Barbara Watson and Clovis Watson and state Sen. Perry Thurston. 

Biden has leveraged heavily on support from black voters to keep him at or near the top of most national and statewide polls.

A New York Times–Sienna University poll released in October showed Biden with 31 percent support from black voters in Florida, while a national Quinnipiac University survey published this week showed Biden with 41 percent support from black voters across the country.