More than two dozen black state legislators endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign on Thursday ahead of the third presidential debate in Houston.
The 26 endorsements include state Rep. Billy Mitchell, the president-elect of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, state Rep. Karen Bennett, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Chair and state Rep. Carolyn Hugley, the former No. 2 Democrat in the state House.
The show of support for Biden comes on the heels of a string of other Democratic figures who backed his campaign. Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland endorsed Biden shortly after he entered the race, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is one of his most prominent supporters in Georgia.
And last month, state Rep. Calvin Smyre, the longest-serving legislator in the state, threw his support behind Biden, saying he endorsed the former vice president because he "won't need on the job training."
Biden has built a lead in most major polls thanks to sizable support from African-American voters, rooted in party by his role in the Obama administration. A CNN poll released on the eve of the debate showed 42% of black voters support his campaign, far outpacing his nearest rivals.
His campaign expects South Carolina, where black voters represent about 60% of the primary electorate, to serve as a firewall for his presidential bid – and give his campaign a boost through Super Tuesday and the March 24 primary in Georgia.
Here’s a list of the endorsements:
State Rep. Billy Mitchell, president-elect of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators
State Rep. Kimberly Alexander
State Sen. Tonya Anderson
State Rep. Debra Bazemore
State Rep. Karen Bennett, Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Chair
State Rep. James Beverly, Georgia House Democratic Caucus Chair
State Rep. Roger Bruce
State Rep. Rhonda Burnough
State Sen. Gloria Butler
State Rep. Doreen Carter
State Rep. Sheila Clark-Nelson
State Rep. Pam Dickerson
State Rep. Winfred Dukes
State Rep. Gloria Frazier
State Sen. Ed Harbison
State Rep. CaMia Hopson
State Rep. Carolyn Hugely, a former House Minority Whip
State Rep. Mack Jackson
State Sen. Donzella James
State Sen. Emanuel Jones
State Rep. Sheila Jones
State Rep. Dar'Shun Kendrick, Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic caucus
State Rep. Dewey McClain
State Rep. Miriam Paris
State Rep. Kim Schofield
State Rep. Al Williams
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com