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Kamala Harris is Latest to Endorse Joe Biden for President

March 9, 2020by Jennifer Epstein, Bloomberg News (TNS)
Kamala Harris is Latest to Endorse Joe Biden for President

California Sen. Kamala Harris endorsed Joe Biden on Sunday, joining several former 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls who’ve already backed the former vice president.

“I believe in Joe Biden and will do everything in my power to help elect him the next president of the United States,” she said in a statement and a video posted on Twitter. Her endorsement comes after Biden’s strong Super Tuesday showing, including a better than expected performance in Harris’ home state, where Bernie Sanders’ lead has narrowed as primary-day ballots continue to be counted.

Harris, who’s likely to be in the top tier of Biden’s list of potential running mates should he capture the nomination, will have a joint appearance with Biden Monday night in Detroit in an effort to boost enthusiasm and turnout ahead of Tuesday’s primary in Michigan and contests in five other states.

Harris’ endorsement comes as the Democratic field has been winnowed down to just two major candidates — Biden and Sanders. Her positions more directly align with Biden than with those of the Vermont senator, so her support doesn’t come as a surprise.

With friends in the race, Harris didn’t want to rush her endorsement decision, a person familiar with her process said on Sunday. She especially didn’t want to endorse against her fellow female senators, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, who both dropped out in the last week.

TALKED SATURDAY

Harris made her decision to back Biden after Warren dropped out on Thursday and the California senator spoke with Biden on Saturday, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about Harris’s deliberations.

Harris dropped out of the presidential race in December and held off on endorsing before her state’s primary, where it was clear even after his post-South Carolina surge that Biden would not be able to win the state because of all the early ballots that has already been cast.

“There is no one better prepared than Joe to steer our nation through these turbulent times, and restore truth, honor and decency to the Oval Office. He is kind and endlessly caring, and he truly listens to the American people,” Harris said.

Harris and Biden had one of the most memorable debate-stage clashes of the primary, when she confronted him over his opposition in the 1970s to a federal mandate for busing to integrate schools, a position that put him on the same side as segregationist senators from the South. Biden has said he supported desegregating schools, just not a requirement by the U.S. Department of Education that it be done.

FRIEND OF BEAU

“That little girl was me,” Harris said in the June debate in Miami, pointing out that she and her sister had been bused to a white school in Northern California, and suggesting that Biden’s position sought to stop that — though the facts were more complicated.

In the days after the debate, it became clear that she and Biden held similar views on how to desegregate schools today and how the federal government can better support majority nonwhite schools.

Biden has said he was surprised by Harris’ attack so early in the primary season in part because she and his late son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, had been “dear” friends, as Harris put it in her endorsement statement.

“I can tell you that Beau inherited his strength of character, selfless courage and commitment to public service from his father, Joe,” she said.

MULTIPLE ENDORSEMENTS

Harris’ endorsement comes after many Democratic contenders dropped out of the race in the past week, helping to coalesce support from the party’s moderate wing around Biden. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out on Sunday and endorsed Biden the next day. Klobuchar ended her bid and endorsed Biden on Monday.

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg did the same on Wednesday. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who dropped out of the race in November, backed Biden on Monday, just before Biden’s unexpected win in Texas.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Reps. Tim Ryan and Eric Swalwell have also endorsed Biden, as did several prominent current and former lawmakers including former Sen. Barbara Boxer of California and former Rep. John Delaney.

Harris also used her statement to address the absence of any major female candidates still in the race.

WOMEN’S EXIT

“Like many women, I watched with sadness as women exited the race one by one. Four years after our nominee, the first woman to win the nomination of a major party, received 3 million more votes than Donald Trump but still lost, we find ourselves without any woman on a path to be the Democratic nominee for president,” she said.

“This is something we must reckon with and it is something I will have more to say about in the future,” Harris said.

“But,” she added, “we must rise to unite the party and country behind a candidate who reflects the decency and dignity of the American people and who can ultimately defeat Donald Trump.”

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Disclaimer: Mike Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, also sought the Democratic presidential nomination. He endorsed Joe Biden on March 4.

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With assistance by Colin Keatinge

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©2020 Bloomberg News

Visit Bloomberg News at www.bloomberg.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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