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Biden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements

Biden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements
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Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading the 2020 pack in congressional endorsements with just over a week to go before the nomination race officially kicks off with the Iowa caucuses.

Biden currently has 42 endorsements from House and Senate Democrats, more than twice as many as his closest presidential primary competitors, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPoll: 56 percent say wealth tax is part of solution to inequality Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Democrats reintroduce bill to block US from using nuclear weapons first MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSirota: Biden has not fulfilled campaign promise of combating union-busting tactics Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Progressives put Democrats on defense MORE (I-Vt.).

Biden's popularity in the congressional endorsement contest allows him to underscore his electability argument by touting his longstanding relationships and experience on Capitol Hill, where he served six terms as a senator from Delaware. 

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Congressional endorsements are seen as an important measure in presidential elections, allowing candidates to lean on lawmakers to act as campaign surrogates, especially if they hail from key primary or caucus states. 

They can also shore up a candidate's standing with key Democratic constituencies. Biden and his allies are touting how his endorsements hail from various corners of the Democratic caucuses on Capitol Hill, presenting that as evidence that he's backed by a diverse coalition that can win nationally. 

Fifteen of Biden’s 41 endorsements are from members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), along with five members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and nine from competitive swing districts.

Biden rolled out four new endorsements from lawmakers in the CBC last week after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, including two who had previously endorsed Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisOddsmakers say Harris, not Biden, most likely to win 2024 nomination, election Passing the Clean School Bus Act can help protect our children's health and our planet The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden defends Afghanistan withdrawal after pushback MORE (D-Calif.) before she dropped out of the race in early December.

Polls have shown Biden leading consistently among African-American Democratic voters, including in South Carolina, where the former vice president is leading in the polls. 

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Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonCongressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Rep. Frederica Wilson shares her famous hat collection with Netflix Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings dies at 84 MORE (D-Fla.), a CBC member who had backed Harris, said she shifted her support to Biden because she considers him the most viable and experienced candidate to take on President TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE.

“While former Vice President BidenJoe BidenFour members of Sikh community among victims in Indianapolis shooting Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes MORE initially stumbled on the campaign trail, his debate performances have steadily improved and he has consistently been at the top of the polls,” Wilson told The Hill. “In addition, he has the respect of world leaders with whom he engaged as vice president and, if elected, could bypass the whole getting-to-know you phase and immediately begin rebuilding our nation’s global standing.”

“The only person I believe in this lineup of candidates who can stop [Trump] from getting a second term is Biden,” Wilson also said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s political arm, said that Biden’s more moderate stances compared to Sanders or Warren and his record on issues like gun safety and health care resonate with lawmakers.

Latino voters are set to play a critical role in early-state Nevada in late February as well as in Texas and California, two Super Tuesday primary states. 

“His record dwarfs everybody else's,” Cárdenas said. “He's not an extremist. And I think the average American is not an extremist.”

And while most senators have declined to endorse anyone, Biden has secured five endorsements from the chamber -- more than any other Democratic presidential candidate.

Meanwhile, Warren has 13 congressional endorsements, drawing heavily from progressive lawmakers as well as from her home state.

Warren locked down endorsements from six members of her Massachusetts delegation, including Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' FDA ends restrictions on mailing abortion pills during pandemic Tlaib: US policing 'intentionally racist,' can't be reformed MORE, except for three who have yet to endorse anyone and a fourth, Rep. Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchUS wasted billions of dollars in Afghanistan: watchdog House Oversight requests Secret Service briefing on threats of extremist violence in wake of Capitol riot The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Republicans squeeze Biden with 0 billion COVID-19 relief alternative MORE, who has backed Biden.

She also secured an endorsement this past week from Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinCapitol Police watchdog paints damning picture of Jan. 6 failures The Hill's Morning Report - Biden officials brace for worst despite vaccine data Political fireworks fuel DC statehood hearing MORE (D-Md.), a progressive and constitutional expert who has been front and center in House Democrats’ investigations of the Trump administration.

“Elizabeth Warren has the chance to recapture the moral center of America and make it the political center of our party,” Raskin said in a video posted to his Twitter account.

Only one Democrat representing a swing district, freshman Rep. Katie Porter (Calif.), has endorsed Warren.

Sanders has 8 congressional endorsements, including three members of the so-called "squad" -- Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezA proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US Biden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap Omar: 'Shameful' Biden reneging on refugee promise MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMcCarthy: GOP not the party of 'nativist dog whistles' White House reverses course on refugee cap after Democratic eruption Biden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap MORE (Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMcCarthy: GOP not the party of 'nativist dog whistles' Pro-Trump lawmakers form caucus promoting 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' Omar: 'Shameful' Biden reneging on refugee promise MORE (Mich.).

The endorsements were considered a coup for the Vermont senator, as other candidates had also been courting the three first-term lawmakers.

Ocasio-Cortez, who has emerged as a progressive star, is set to play a key role in campaigning for Sanders in Iowa at a time when the senator is stuck in Washington because of Trump's impeachment trial, including rallying for him on Friday. 

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Sanders has also locked down support from many of the top progressive leaders in Congress who don’t believe Biden’s positions go far enough. The Progressive Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanNIH reverses Trump administration's ban on fetal tissue research NIH to make announcement on fetal tissue research policy amid Trump-era restrictions Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike MORE (Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalBiden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap Omar: 'Shameful' Biden reneging on refugee promise Biden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 MORE (Wash.), each endorsed Sanders within the last ten days.  

Jayapal told CBS News after endorsing Sanders last weekend that the U.S. risked “another Donald Trump down the road” if the U.S. doesn’t elect a more progressive candidate.

"Even if it is a Democratic president, if we don't address these issues we will end up with another Donald Trump down the road," Jayapal said. "Because people are suffering. And our job has to be to fix that suffering."

Sanders also has endorsements from the other two members of the Vermont congressional delegation: Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCongress brings back corrupt, costly, and inequitably earmarks Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Senate GOP opens door to earmarks MORE and Rep. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices Lawmakers debate role of prescription drugs and generics in health care costs The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE.

Among other presidential contenders, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegWhite House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations Senate Republicans label Biden infrastructure plan a 'slush fund' MORE has six congressional endorsements, including one from Rep. Ann KusterAnn McLane KusterThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election Pelosi seeks to put pressure on GOP in COVID-19 relief battle MORE (D-N.H.), who is serving as a national campaign co-chair.

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He also secured an endorsement from Rep. Anthony BrownAnthony Gregory BrownBottom line House panel to take up 2002 war authorization repeal in 'coming weeks' Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief to press for Manchin's support on Colin Kahl | House Dems seek to limit transfer of military-grade gear to police MORE (D-Md.), a CBC member, a critical one given persistent concerns about Buttigieg's lack of support among African American voters.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after pushback from Klobuchar, Lee Lobbying world MORE (Minn.), who like Biden has run on a more moderate platform, so far has five endorsements, all hailing from her Minnesota delegation: Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithDemocratic senators call on CDC to boost accessibility of vaccine scheduling for seniors Democrats near pressure point on nixing filibuster  Sen. Tina Smith calls for eliminating filibuster MORE and Reps. Betty McCollumBetty Louise McCollumProgressive lawmaker to introduce bill seeking more oversight of Israel assistance Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike MORE, Collin PetersonCollin Clark Peterson Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Six ways to visualize a divided America On The Trail: The political losers of 2020 MORE, Angie Craig and Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsBold leadership is necessary to curb violence against youth Democrat Rita Hart withdraws challenge in Iowa House race Pelosi downplays concerns from moderates about reviewing contested Iowa race MORE.

Former New York City mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergHolder, Yates lead letter backing Biden pick for Civil Rights Division at DOJ The truth behind companies' 'net zero' climate commitments The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan MORE has also picked up endorsements from four House Democrats in recent days, and former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyLobbying world Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Rodney Davis Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer says Trump right on China but wrong on WHO; CDC issues new guidance for large gatherings MORE (Md.) has two endorsements despite his consistently low standing in the polls.

But four Democratic presidential candidates -- Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocrats get good news from IRS Senators press for answers in Space Command move decision Biden announces first slate of diverse judicial nominees MORE (Colo.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardNew co-chairs named for congressional caucus for millennials Tulsi Gabbard blasts new House rules on gender neutral language as 'height of hypocrisy' A vaccine, a Burrito and more: 7 lighter, memorable moments from 2020 MORE (Hawaii), Tom SteyerTom SteyerWhy we should be leery of companies entering political fray Steyer says he has 'no plans' to run for public office again GOP targets ballot initiatives after progressive wins MORE and Andrew YangAndrew YangYang expands lead in NYC mayor race: poll Evelyn Yang pens children's book on sexual abuse, reveals she was sexually assaulted as a child Yang pitches plan to revive Broadway, live performances in New York MORE -- have yet to earn a congressional endorsement.