U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden’s bid for president on Tuesday, making him the first member of Georgia’s Democratic congressional delegation to pick a side in the 2020 race for the White House.
The Albany Democrat told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was impressed by Biden’s “foreign and domestic policy experience, legislative shrewdness, and successful implementation of the Recovery Act following the Great Recession.”
Biden “will restore the nation’s economic security and ensure that working families will be able to live with dignity and respect, have a pathway to upward mobility and realizing their full potential,” added Bishop, a member of the centrist Blue Dog coalition who was first elected to represent the west Georgia district in 1992.
He 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.
The other four Democratic members of Georgia’s U.S. House delegation – Reps. Hank Johnson of Lithonia, John Lewis of Atlanta, Lucy McBath of Marietta and David Scott of Atlanta – have yet to endorse. All nine GOP congressman from Georgia are on President Donald Trump’s re-election committee.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released in November showed Biden ran strongest against Trump in hypothetical head-to-head contests, 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.
A separate poll unveiled this week shows about two-thirds of Democrats have favorable opinions of former Biden, Sanders and Warren – while Buttigieg had a far lower profile in the state. About 41% of Democrats had a positive opinion of him, the lowest of the four candidates in the AJC survey.
Biden has amassed the largest group of endorsements from elected Georgia officials, though some rivals have picked up other prominent supporters. And Warren this month announced the hiring of several Georgia operatives, making her the first 2020 hopeful with a significant paid presence in the state.
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.
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