Former Vice President Joe Biden has rolled out over a dozen individual Florida endorsements, but the big-name congressional endorsements in the Sunshine State appear to be hedging their bets, refraining from lending their support during the primary season.
It’s common practice for elected officials to hold off from endorsing a candidate during a contested primary race, but in Biden’s case, most, if not all the Florida Democratic congressional delegation has in the past supported and praised him.
Florida Democrats have all supported the policies he and President Barack Obama championed during their two terms in the White House.
First, let’s be very clear. Landing the support of former U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Bob Graham is a big deal, and garnering the support of state Senators Jason Pizzo and Lori Berman, usually helps any race, but the lack of acknowledgment from the likes of Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Donna Shalala, and others, speaks volumes.
“Each and every one of these leaders are trusted voices in their communities and I am proud to have earned their support,” Biden said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times. “Their endorsements are crucial to this campaign.”
Like Biden, Democratic members of Congress are cut from the same liberal cloth, unlike the other presidential candidates, who have taken a sharp left turn, pushing ideas like “Medicare for All” a “single-payer” healthcare system,” and the pricey “Green New Deal.”
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, are all running on a very, very left of center agenda, a position that seems even too far left for Biden.
But to his credit, Biden is trying to pick off enough support from the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/ Ilhan Omar faction of the Democratic Party that is dictating how things are done within among rank-and-file Democrats.
Several of the Democratic members of Congress could not be reached for comment on whether they are supporting Biden this election cycle, but Rep.Darren Soto’s office responded to The Floridian’s request for comment.
Soto’s aide simply stated, “Rep. Soto is not endorsing any candidate at this point.”
Perhaps Florida’s Democratic congressional caucus is waiting for “the coast to be clear,” and are waiting for more polls to give them cover for backing Biden? The latest public opinion polls show that Biden is back on the rise, and the other candidate slipping a bit, but remember, it’s still very early in the game.
It makes sense. Why would they want to upset the new “AOC” base of the Democratic Party considering that they are all up for reelection in 2020?
Just look at the primary headache Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz faced in 2016 when she was challenged by Bernie Sanders-style candidate Tim Canova.
Wasserman Schultz took on the initial wave of the new progressive movement and won, but that was three years ago, and progressives are more organized and battle-tested.