Establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden

Establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden
© Greg Nash

Establishment Democrats are consolidating behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Biden clarifies comments comparing African American and Latino communities Kanye West may have missed deadline to get on Wisconsin ballot by minutes: report MORE after his decisive South Carolina victory in their effort to block liberal front-runner Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic MORE (I-Vt.) from clinching the Democratic nomination.

Two of Biden’s competitors in the moderate lane — former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegCNN's Ana Navarro to host Biden roundtable on making 'Trump a one-term president' Former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan dies How Republicans can embrace environmentalism and win MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Lobbying world MORE (D-Minn.) — dropped out of the race following Saturday’s primary in South Carolina and endorsed Biden on Monday evening.

The former White House hopefuls flew to Dallas on Monday, to appear on stage with Biden just hours before voters in Texas and 13 other states cast their ballots on Super Tuesday. A third former 2020 contender, former Texas Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBeto O'Rourke calls Texas GOP 'a death cult' over coronavirus response Hegar, West to face off in bitter Texas Senate runoff Bellwether counties show trouble for Trump MORE, also joined the Dallas rally and told the crowd he will be casting his ballot for Biden. 

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Another big boost came from former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious' Obama calls filibuster 'Jim Crow relic,' backs new Voting Rights Act bill MORE (D-Nev.), a key congressional ally when former President Obama and Biden were in the White House.

“Democrats need a candidate who can assemble the largest, most diverse coalition possible to defeat Trump and lead our country following the trauma of Trump’s presidency. That candidate is Joe Biden,” Reid said in a statement Monday.

While the Buttigieg and Klobuchar endorsements were the biggest gets for Biden, he won other endorsements in recent days from other high-profile politicians and power brokers from Super Tuesday states and beyond.

Over the weekend, Biden hit the campaign trail in southern Virginia, a Super Tuesday state, with Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineEx-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal MORE (D-Va.), who both served as governor of the state and as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Biden also picked up support from Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottPelosi huddles with chairmen on surprise billing but deal elusive Overnight Health Care: White House blocks CDC director from testifying before House panel | Fauci urges action on masks | Administration document says counties in 'red zone' should close bars, gyms White House blocks CDC director from testifying before House panel on reopening schools MORE — a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee — and two centrist freshmen who flipped GOP seats in 2018, Reps. Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaHouse panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate Republican Scott Taylor wins Virginia primary, to face Elaine Luria in rematch National Retail Federation hosts virtual 'store tours' for lawmakers amid coronavirus MORE (D-Va.) and Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonRepublicans face worsening outlook in battle for House Ocasio-Cortez rejects Yoho apology as disingenuous Democratic lawmakers launch 'Mean Girls'-inspired initiative to promote face masks MORE (D-Va.).

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), the first lawmaker to back Buttigieg, threw his support behind Biden, too.

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A number of establishment and moderate Democrats have warned in recent days that a Sanders nomination would lead to a down-ballot disaster. House Republicans are already painting vulnerable Democrats as radical left-wingers, tying them to Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist.

“Some candidates are calling for a revolution. Well, you know what? We already had a revolution 244 years ago, and it ended 30 miles from here. We don’t need a revolution, we need Joe Biden in the White House,” McAuliffe said at a campaign event in Norfolk, taking a blatant swipe at Sanders.

In delegate-rich California, progressive freshman Rep. Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE, who backed Sanders for president in 2016, also jumped on board the Biden bus, as did former Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBottom line Polls show big bounce to Biden ahead of Super Tuesday Sanders poised for big Super Tuesday MORE, a Senate colleague of Biden’s for 15 years.

“Joe has been knocked down. Hard,” she said. “He always gets up.”

Other women who endorsed Biden after South Carolina included freshman Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's latest plan on racial inequality Democrats hope clash resonates with key bloc: Women MORE (D-Texas), a rising star in the party; Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Duckworth: Republican coronavirus package would 'gut' Americans With Disabilities Act MORE (D-Ill.), a decorated Iraq War veteran who lost both her legs in combat; Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeHonoring John Lewis's voting rights legacy Teacher-centric is good, but student-centric is better The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases MORE (D-Ohio), a former Black Caucus chairwoman; former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.); Vicki Kennedy, the widow of former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.); Susan Rice, Obama’s former national security adviser; and Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzMichelle Obama wishes Barack a happy birthday: 'My favorite guy' Florida county official apologizes for social media post invoking Hitler  The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Lauren Underwood says Americans face economic crisis if Senate fails to act on unemployment benefits extension; US surpasses 4 million cases, 1,000+ deaths for third straight day MORE (D-Fla.), who resigned as DNC chair in 2016 after hacked emails showed that her staffers were trying to sabotage Sanders’s presidential bid that year.

More endorsements are expected as the primary calendar shifts to more favorable terrain for Biden in states such as Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi and Ohio.

Longtime Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonProgressive Caucus co-chair: Reported oversight change in intelligence office 'seems a bit...fascist' House lawmakers to launch probe into DHS excluding NY from Trusted Traveler Program Cuomo says Wolf, Cuccinelli violated oath of office and should be investigated MORE (D-Miss.), a Black Caucus member who serves as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told The Hill he will formally endorse Biden ahead of Mississippi’s primary on March 10.

“If you hold on, I will be [endorsing Biden] shortly,” Thompson said.

The groundswell of support and newfound momentum comes at a critical time for Biden, who will battle it out with Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package MORE (D-Mass.) and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg on Super Tuesday, where one-third of all 3,979 delegates are up for grabs.

“I think he has the wind at his back,” Democratic strategist Jon Reinish, a former aide to Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Progressives soaring after big primary night MORE (D-N.Y.), told The Hill. “South Carolina changed the game. It wasn’t just that Biden won. It was who he won, where he won, and the incredible numbers he won by.”

The consolidation of the moderate lane could stand to give Biden a needed boost in California with its 415 delegates and Texas, where White House hopefuls will be competing for 228 delegates.

Additional support from Klobuchar’s and Buttigieg’s supporters gives Biden a better chance of reaching the 15 percent viability threshold in California and Texas, where Sanders has a better chance of winning. Biden does not need a statewide victory to shore up delegates so long as he reaches the threshold.

“We’re no longer dividing the pot between four, five or six people. We’re dividing it between three people,” said Kelly Dietrich, the founder and head of the National Democratic Training Committee, which works with Democrats running for office.

However, Biden isn’t dominating the moderate lane just yet. Bloomberg will make his debut on the ballot Tuesday after blanketing the country with high-dollar ad buys.

“I will tell you, I talked to Mayor Pete and Amy Klobuchar,” Bloomberg said. “They represented their country and their states very well, and I felt sorry for them, but I’m in it to win it.”