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Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe endorses Joe Biden for president

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Saturday endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, days before Virginia voters head to the polls for the state’s Democratic primary on Super Tuesday.

“I’m going to endorse Joe Biden,” McAuliffe told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“I’ve thought long and hard about this. For me, it’s about beating (President) Donald Trump, and to me it’s an electability issue — who has the best shot of beating Donald Trump,” said McAuliffe, who is a commentator for the network.

The former governor’s announcement came shortly after CNN projected Biden would win the South Carolina primary.

Visit CNN’s Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 race

In a statement sent out by the Biden campaign, McAuliffe said, “I’ve always said that our best leader is one who can build a broad coalition, including African American voters who are the heart of the Democratic Party. After South Carolina, it is clear Joe Biden is that leader.”

McAuliffe told CNN health care is a top issue in his state, and said he supports Biden’s proposal of expanding Obamacare’s subsidies to make the private insurance policies available on the exchanges more affordable.

McAuliffe, who was governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, is widely viewed as one of the most connected Democrats in the county. He is a prolific fundraiser — by the end of former President Bill Clinton’s two terms as president, McAuliffe was known to boast about raising around $275 million for Clinton’s campaigns, his second inaugural and his legal defense fund — and has deep ties with other top Democratic donors.

His endorsement comes one day after Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who was 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s running mate, endorsed Biden and cited his experience serving as vice president.

“Joe Biden has exemplary heart, character, and experience,” he said.

Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott on Saturday also endorsed Biden. Scott represents Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District, and is the 20th member of the Congressional Black Caucus to back the former vice president.

“Joe has been tested time and time again, and has earned the support and trust of a broad coalition of voters,” Scott said in a statement.

McAuliffe’s decision to endorse Biden brings him closer to the candidate who likely kept him out of the 2020 race. The former governor actively considered getting into the race but believed that he would have struggled to break out of Biden’s shadow, should both of them run.

But McAuliffe’s ruminations were taken seriously enough in 2019 that some top donors said they were waiting on the former governor to decide before backing another candidate.

The former governor announced in April that he wouldn’t run for president, telling CNN at the time that he would “work like a dog to make sure that we are blue” in Virginia.

The endorsement also brings McAuliffe in line with his household: McAuliffe’s wife, Dorothy, endorsed Biden in 2019.

McAuliffe, in addition to representing Virginia for four years, was elected chair of the DNC in 2001 and served until 2005. He was the chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and worked on the board of directors of the Clinton Foundation.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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