JACKSON, Miss. (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden added to his list of endorsements from high-profile Democrats on Sunday with a nod from Senator Kamala Harris, a former rival for the nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in November.
FILE PHOTO: Former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris take the stage before the start of the second night of the second U.S. 2020 presidential Democratic candidates debate in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., July 31, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
The backing of the black senator, who clashed with Biden sharply during debates, could give Biden a boost in her home state of California and as he campaigns ahead of the next round of presidential nominating contests.
Biden, 77, and his progressive opponent Bernie Sanders, 78, the senator from Vermont, are competing for their party’s delegates in six states on Tuesday.
Below is a summary of Sunday’s events.
FROM ATTACKER TO BACKER
Harris, a former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, announced she was backing Biden’s bid for the White House and would campaign with him on Monday in Detroit, which has a large black population.
“I have decided that I am, with great enthusiasm, going to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States,” she said in a recorded message on Twitter. “I really believe in him and I have known him for a long time.”
Harris, a first-term senator for California and the state’s former attorney general, was considered a top-tier contender when she launched her quest for the presidency with a rally in Oakland, California, that drew 20,000 people.
She also received attention for a blistering attack on Biden over his civil rights record in one of the early presidential debates. But her campaign ultimately struggled to build on early support and raise money.
A number of Harris backers switched their support to Biden after she dropped out of the race in December.
Biden has been eager to capitalize on a string of wins in South Carolina and states that voted last Tuesday, helped by the endorsements of one-time rivals Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Like Harris, both are moderate Democrats.
JESSE JACKSON BACKS SANDERS
Sanders garnered his own endorsement on Sunday from the Reverend Jesse Jackson, a civil rights leader who is well known especially among older African Americans.
Sanders lags Biden in support among black Americans.
“With the exception of Native Americans, African Americans are the people who are most behind socially and economically in the United States and our needs are not moderate,” Jackson said in his statement.
“A people far behind cannot catch up choosing the most moderate path. The most progressive social and economic path gives us the best chance to catch up and Senator Bernie Sanders represents the most progressive path.”
Jackson planned to speak at a campaign event with Sanders in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Sunday.
Jackson has been a leader of the U.S. civil rights movement since the mid-1960s, and was with Martin Luther King when he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.
He twice sought the Democratic presidential nomination himself and has acted as an emissary to secure the release of Americans held abroad.
Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall