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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 BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE after his decisive South Carolina victory in their effort to block liberal front-runner Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy: Biden seeks to reassert US climate leadership | President to 'repeal or replace' Trump decision removing protections for Tongass | Administration proposes its first offshore wind lease sale On The Money: Democrats wary of emerging bipartisan infrastructure deal, warn of time crunch Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives MORE (I-Vt.) from clinching the Democratic nomination.

Two of Biden’s competitors in the moderate lane — former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg: Bipartisan deal on infrastructure 'strongly preferred' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHouse unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants Democrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' Senate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin 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'RourkeO'Rourke considering Texas governor bid: report O'Rourke clarifies remarks, leaves door open to gubernatorial bid O'Rourke says he's not planning on run for Texas governor 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 ReidNevada governor signs law making state first presidential primary Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms Lobbying world 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 KaineOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military Democrats try to pin down Manchin on voting rights 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 ScottVirginia attorney general survives primary challenge OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden suspends Arctic oil leases issued under Trump |  Experts warn US needs to better prepare for hurricane season | Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps program: exclusive 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 LuriaOmar feuds with Jewish Democrats Virginia attorney general survives primary challenge McAuliffe looms large as Virginia Democrats pick governor nominee MORE (D-Va.) and Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonLate Capitol Police officer's family urges Congress to agree to Jan. 6 commission Administration withdraws Trump-era proposal to loosen protections for transgender homeless people Trump the X-factor in Virginia governor race 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 Trump administration halting imports of cotton, tomatoes from Uighur region of China Biden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status 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 EscobarGun violence: Save the thoughts and prayers, it's time for Senate action Five things to watch in Biden's first joint address to Congress HuffPost reporter: DCCC will help Dems fend off progressive challengers to 'keep them happy' MORE (D-Texas), a rising star in the party; Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthChina conducts amphibious landing drill near Taiwan after senators' visit US, Taiwan to discuss trade, investments, Blinken says Chinese state media rip senators' stop in Taiwan: 'A treacherous move' MORE (D-Ill.), a decorated Iraq War veteran who lost both her legs in combat; Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeOn The Money: Democrats wary of emerging bipartisan infrastructure deal, warn of time crunch Progressives relish return to in-person events On The Money: Key takeaways from May jobs report | Biden rejects new GOP infrastructure offer as talks drag on 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 SchultzOmar feuds with Jewish Democrats Shakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year's 'Will on the Hill' Theatres are a vital educational, creative and economic resource to communities 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 ThompsonHillicon Valley: Biden gives TikTok and WeChat a reprieve | Colonial Pipeline CEO addresses Congress again | Thomson Reuters shareholders want review of ICE ties Colonial Pipeline may use recovered ransomware attack funds to boost cybersecurity Democrats debate shape of new Jan. 6 probe 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 WarrenMark Cuban: ProPublica 'not being honest' about taxes on wealthy On The Money: Bipartisan Senate group rules out tax hikes on infrastructure | New report reignites push for wealth tax New report reignites push for wealth tax 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: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Top general: Military justice overhaul proposed by Gillibrand 'requires some detailed study' Cher apologizes for confusing Sinema, Gillibrand 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.”