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Establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden

Establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden
© Greg Nash

Establishment Democrats are consolidating behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump Cruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge MORE after his decisive South Carolina victory in their effort to block liberal front-runner Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' MORE (I-Vt.) from clinching the Democratic nomination.

Two of Biden’s competitors in the moderate lane — former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegJuan Williams: Clyburn is my choice as politician of the year 'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation 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'RourkeMexican president breaks with other world leaders, refusing to acknowledge Biden win until election is finalized Mexico emerging as foreign policy challenge for Biden Beyoncé sports pro-Biden mask on Instagram 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 ReidFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee Bottom line 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 KaineCongress set for chaotic year-end sprint Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus 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 ScottDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair National reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Trump officials approve Georgia plan to remove healthcare.gov as enrollment option 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 LuriaChamber-endorsed Dems struggle on election night Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Luria holds onto Virginia House seat MORE (D-Va.) and Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonVirginia voter registration website back up after outage on last day to register House advances bill aimed at imports tied to Uighur forced labor This week: Supreme Court fight over Ginsburg's seat upends Congress's agenda 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 BoxerBiden plays it cool as Trump refuses to concede The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance Bottom line 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 EscobarMaloney vows to overhaul a House Democratic campaign machine 'stuck in the past' Hispanic Caucus endorses Cárdenas to lead DCCC Progressive lawmakers call for United Nations probe into DHS 'human rights abuses' MORE (D-Texas), a rising star in the party; Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense: Trump orders troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq | Key Republicans call Trump plan a 'mistake' Top Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: Another Defense official resigns | Pentagon chief says military 'remains strong' despite purge | Top contender for Biden DOD secretary would be historic pick MORE (D-Ill.), a decorated Iraq War veteran who lost both her legs in combat; Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeDangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry says Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough' | EPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler| EPA sued over rule extending life of toxic coal ash ponds 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 SchultzDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair On The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations 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 ThompsonDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair Dangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis House Democrats subpoena private prison operator in forced hysterectomy case 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 WarrenOn The Money: McConnell offering new coronavirus relief bill | Biden introduces economic team, vows swift action on relief | Rare Mnuchin-Powell spat takes center stage at COVID-19 hearing Biden introduces economic team, vows swift action on struggling economy Louisville mayor declares racism a public health crisis 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 GillibrandOvernight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Democratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Social media responds to Harris making history: 'I feel like our ancestors are rejoicing' 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.”