Georgia 2020: Biden picks up prominent Latino supporter

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

One of the first Latino members of the Georgia Legislature threw his support behind Vice President Joe Biden on Friday as the White House hopeful sharpens his focus on a newly-released immigration policy.

State Rep. Pedro Marin said he was drawn to Biden because of his “consistent and clear” track record.

“He’s made America — and the world — safer, stronger and more free,” said Marin, a Duluth Democrat. “Joe has been a constant champion for working people and is a fighter for equal opportunity, equal rights, and equal justice.”

He and Republican state Rep. David Casas made history in Georgia in 2003 by becoming the first Latinos elected to the state House. While Casas has since retired, Marin remains one of the more influential Democrats in the chamber.

Marin joins more than two dozen state legislators, many of them African-American officials, who have backed Biden’s campaign.

They include state Rep. Billy Mitchell, the president-elect of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and state Rep. Calvin Smyre, the longest-serving legislator in Georgia. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has also emerged as one of Biden's top surrogates.

Biden recently unveiled an immigration policy that seeks to undo most of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies over the first 100 days he’s in office. It also would raise the nation’s refugee cap and establish a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released in November showed in head-to-head matchups Biden ran strongest against Trump, leading the president 51% to 43%. Other matchups against South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are much tighter.

Biden has amassed the largest group of endorsements from elected Georgia officials, though some rivals have picked up other prominent supporters.

Many other influential Democrats, most notably Stacey Abrams, remain on the sidelines. A recent AJC analysis found about one-sixth of small-dollar donors in Georgia have hedged their bets by giving to multiple contenders.

More: Georgia 2020: Who's winning the Democratic endorsement hunt