Washington — With voters in 14 states preparing to head to the polls for Super Tuesday, Joe Biden’s campaign has steadily rolled out a slew of high-profile endorsements in key states, consolidating support from the moderate and establishment wings of the Democratic Party after his decisive victory in the South Carolina primary.
The floodgates seemingly opened Saturday in the wake of Biden’s win in the Palmetto State, which propelled him to second in the national delegate race, trailing Senator Bernie Sanders by just two delegates.
As the former vice president was projected to win the state just after polls closed, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on CNN his support for Biden, saying he has the “best chance of winning” the state in November. Joining McAuliffe were fellow Virginians Senator Tim Kaine, Congressman Bobby Scott and Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, who unseated a GOP incumbent in 2018.
Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, California Congressman Gil Cisneros and Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, the seventh U.S. senator to back the former vice president, all also closed ranks around Biden.
California, Texas and Virginia all hold their primaries Super Tuesday, when a total of 1,357 delegates are up for grabs. California and Texas will award the most, 415 and 228 respectively.
Among those announcing their support for Biden on Monday was former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who called him the candidate “who can assemble the largest, most diverse coalition possible to defeat Trump and lead our country following the trauma of Trump’s presidency.”
“Biden will be a much-needed stabilizing force following Trump’s disastrous term, offering a positive and progressive alternative to Trump’s dark vision of racism, xenophobia and policies built on cruelty and exclusion,” Reid, who represented Nevada in the Senate for 30 years, said in a statement. “I believe Biden is best able to defeat Donald Trump and enact the policies we all care about.”
The former vice president is also expected to snag support from his former competitors in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is suspending her presidential campaign, is expected to appear alongside Biden at a rally in Dallas on Monday night. Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who dropped out of the presidential race Sunday, is also Biden.
Among the field of Democratic presidential candidates, Biden has always had a high number of endorsements in competitive states like Iowa and New Hampshire, but they didn’t translate into wins in either of the two states. In Iowa, Biden came in fourth and in New Hampshire he placed fifth. He came in second, behind Sanders, in the Nevada caucuses.
But that changed in South Carolina, where he received the coveted endorsement of Congressman Jim Clyburn, a Democratic kingmaker in the Palmetto State. Among Democratic primary voters, 47% said Clyburn’s endorsement was an important factor in their vote.
Biden thanked the South Carolina congressman for helping drive him to victory in the state, saying he “brought me back.”
The field of Democrats seeking the presidential nomination has thinned in the wake of the South Carolina primary. Billionaire philanthropist Tom SteyerSaturday followed by Buttigieg and Klobuchar. The leaves five candidates in the race: Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Biden warned about the ramifications of Sanders winning the nomination in an, during which he said a ticket led by Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, could jeopardize Democrats running for the House and Senate.
“There’s an awful lot of people who are running for office who don’t want to run with Bernie at the top of the ticket as a self-proclaimed socialist,” Biden said. “Imagine here in Texas or in North Carolina or in Georgia, the idea, if I said to you, ‘This is an open test. You’re running for office. Do you want a very popular, self-proclaimed socialist or a popular mainstream Democrat running at the top of the ticket?’ My guess is in most states, they’d say no.”
The former vice president suggested his flurry of endorsements, including from Democrats in battleground states, stems from the realization that the success of other candidates could hinge on the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.
“It’s not going to be enough just to beat Donald Trump. We have to win back the Senate, we have to keep the House,” he said. “Whether they’re right or not, those people who are running for those offices think that Bernie was not likely to help them, but hurt them in their pursuit of their Senate or their House seat or their governor’s seat.”
Bo Erickson contributed to this report.