(Reuters) – Joe Biden’s presidential bid won endorsements from two prominent members of Congress on Tuesday, support that could help the Democrat in his campaign for the party’s nomination.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who once weighed his own presidential run, and U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a prominent black civil rights activist, announced their support for the former vice president.
Biden is seeking his party’s nomination to face Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
While Trump carried both Ohio and Georgia in the 2016 election, Democrats see opportunity to make progress in statewide races in both places.
“Joe Biden has no delusion about this nation’s past, but he knows who we can be at our best,” said Lewis, who was beaten unconscious by Alabama state troopers in 1965 during a march for voting rights, in a video posted by Biden’s campaign.
Biden maintains a strong lead in the Democratic nominating contest over his lone remaining rival, liberal U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, after victories powered by support from black voters and legislators from Southern states like Georgia.
Yet the coronavirus outbreak has postponed state primaries and delayed the nominating contest from reaching a conclusion. Ohio is now collecting ballots, mostly by mail, through April 28 and Georgians are set to vote on May 19. Both states had originally been scheduled to hold primaries in March.
Brown, a liberal with strong ties to the labor movement, could help Biden build his appeal with working-class white voters in the Midwest as well as among the party’s more liberal constituencies.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Jonathan Oatis)