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 WarrenCalifornia Democrats warn of low turnout in recall election Pelosi disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans Warren hits the airwaves for Newsom ahead of recall election MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersAngst grips America's most liberal city Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Democrats say they have the votes to advance .5T budget measure 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 HarrisThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - CDC equates Delta to chickenpox in contagiousness Harris's bad polls trigger Democratic worries Why in the world are White House reporters being told to mask up again? 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 WilsonBiden to meet with Surfside families as rescue efforts enter eighth day Biden offers traditional address in eerie setting Congressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years 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 TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE.

“While former Vice President BidenJoe BidenCDC chief clarifies vaccine comments: 'There will be no nationwide mandate' Overnight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden urges local governments to stave off evictions 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 disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans On The Money: Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause | IMF estimates 6 percent global growth this year Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause and wipe out K per borrower MORE, except for three who have yet to endorse anyone and a fourth, Rep. Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchOvernight Defense: Military justice overhaul included in defense bill | Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' | Pentagon carries out first air strike in Somalia under Biden Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' Overnight Defense: Ex-Pentagon chief defends Capitol attack response as GOP downplays violence | Austin, Biden confer with Israeli counterparts amid conflict with Hamas | Lawmakers press Pentagon officials on visas for Afghan partners MORE, who has backed Biden.

She also secured an endorsement this past week from Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse at war over Jan. 6 inquiry, mask mandate GOP Rep. Clyde defends 'normal tourist visit' comparison for Jan. 6 Five takeaways from a bracing day of Jan. 6 testimony 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-CortezHouse adjourns for recess without passing bill to extend federal eviction ban Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOvernight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia US launches second Somalia strike in week Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy MORE (Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators House passes spending bill to boost Capitol Police and Hill staffer pay Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy 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 PocanLawmakers can't reconcile weakening the SALT cap with progressive goals Overnight Defense: 6B Pentagon spending bill advances | Navy secretary nominee glides through hearing | Obstacles mount in Capitol security funding fight House panel advances 6B Pentagon bill on party-line vote MORE (Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalAngst grips America's most liberal city Congress must lower the Medicare Age to save the lives of older Americans House Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate 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 LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge House clears .1 billion Capitol security bill, sending to Biden Senate passes .1 billion Capitol security bill MORE and Rep. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchShakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year's 'Will on the Hill' Democrats debate shape of new Jan. 6 probe On the Money: Tech giants face rising pressure from shareholder activists | House Democrats urge IRS to reverse Trump-era rule reducing donor disclosure | Sen. Warren, Jamie Dimon spar over overdraft fees at Senate hearing MORE.

Among other presidential contenders, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegChasten Buttigieg: DC 'almost unaffordable' JD Vance takes aim at culture wars, childless politicians Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary MORE has six congressional endorsements, including one from Rep. Ann KusterAnn McLane KusterTech industry pushes for delay in antitrust legislation Man charged in Capitol riot says he's running for Congress The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day 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 BrownDemocrats seek staffer salary boost to compete with K Street Bottom line House panel to take up 2002 war authorization repeal in 'coming weeks' 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: Democrats urge tech CEOs to combat Spanish disinformation | Amazon fined 6M by EU regulators Democrats urge tech CEOs to combat Spanish disinformation Bill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol 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 SmithFauci: Paul doesn't know what he's talking about Clean electricity standard should be a no brainer amid extreme climate impacts Overnight Energy: Democrats reach budget deal including climate priorities | Europe planning to cut emissions 55 percent by 2030 | Army Corps nominee pledges not to politicize DAPL environmental review MORE and Reps. Betty McCollumBetty Louise McCollumFunding fight imperils National Guard ops Overnight Defense: Former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld dies at 88 | Trump calls on Milley to resign | House subpanel advances Pentagon spending bill House subcommittee advances 6B Pentagon spending bill 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 PhillipsLawmakers spend more on personal security in wake of insurrection Omar feuds with Jewish Democrats Shakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year's 'Will on the Hill' MORE.

Former New York City mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWHO leader issues warning on 'harmful' e-cigarettes Six months in, two challenges could define Biden's presidency Why Democrats' .5 trillion reconciliation bill is a losing game MORE has also picked up endorsements from four House Democrats in recent days, and former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyDirect air capture is a crucial bipartisan climate policy Lobbying world Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Rodney Davis MORE (Md.) has two endorsements despite his consistently low standing in the polls.

But four Democratic presidential candidates -- Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetLawmakers can't reconcile weakening the SALT cap with progressive goals How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform For true American prosperity, make the child tax credit permanent MORE (Colo.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard on Chicago mayor's decision to limit media interviews to people of color: 'Anti-white racism' Fox News says network and anchor Leland Vittert have 'parted ways' New co-chairs named for congressional caucus for millennials MORE (Hawaii), Tom SteyerTom SteyerOvernight Energy: 'Eye of fire,' Exxon lobbyist's comments fuel renewed attacks on oil industry | Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline | More than 75 companies ask Congress to pass clean electricity standard Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline Six things to watch as California heads for recall election MORE and Andrew YangAndrew YangPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Kings launch voting rights effort honoring John Lewis Eric Adams to meet with Biden on curbing gun violence MORE -- have yet to earn a congressional endorsement.