NEW YORK (Reuters) - Weeks before the Iowa caucuses, members of Congress delivered endorsements to Democratic presidential hopefuls hoping to parlay the support into momentum ahead of the first votes.
The endorsements not only provide helpful surrogates on the campaign trail, they also draw attention to the strengths of the candidates, who continue to vie in a field of 13 people hoping to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in November 2020.
Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, whose long-shot campaign has been gaining traction in the polls, picked up two congressional endorsements on Friday. Earlier in the week, he picked up his first congressional endorsement when New York congressman Max Rose supported his presidential bid.
The endorsements all come from swing districts that the former New York City mayor argues he is best suited to win.
“I am excited to endorse Mayor Bloomberg for President because he has a plan to keep our nation safe, restore American values, and get our government serving its people again,” said Florida congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, who will also serve as campaign co-chair.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is trying to hold on to his strong support among African-American voters, nabbed the endorsement on Friday of Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell, the first black women elected to Congress in the state.
In her endorsement, she said President Donald Trump poses the biggest threat to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose national holiday is Monday.
“I believe that Joe Biden is the best democratic candidate to beat Trump and, therefore, protect the causes central to the life’s work of Dr. King. That is why Joe Biden is my choice for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States,” Sewell said.
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be joined on Friday by New Hampshire congresswoman Annie Kuster, who became the state’s first congress member to endorse a candidate when she backed the Buttigieg campaign earlier his week.
On Sunday, Buttigieg was endorsed by veteran Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack, a high-profile boost for the White House hopeful.
Of the three Democratic House members in Iowa, Cindy Axne has yet to endorse. Iowa congresswoman Abby Finkenauer previously supported Biden.
Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by David Gregorio