WASHINGTON — Joe Biden has nine new endorsements to go with his growing delegate lead in the Democratic presidential primary. The Biden campaign announced the backers on Tuesday morning. All are members of the House of Representatives who previously supported former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The group comprises Reps. Gregory Meeks, Nita Lowey and Max Rose of New York; Pete Aguilar, Scott Peters, and Juan Vargas of California;  Lucy McBath of Georgia; Bobby Rush of Illinois; and Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands. They released a joint statement saying they were “proud to endorse Joe Biden for President of the United States.”

“Joe Biden is what our nation needs right now. He is a leader who can unify Americans in our shared values and common aspirations,” the statement said.

“We need a leader who serves with empathy and a moral compass that will galvanize the best in all of us as we tackle tough issues and look to strengthen our fractured global credibility. A leader that doesn’t just talk about inequality and the wealth gap, but has worked on solutions. That’s Joe Biden.”

The statement represents the latest in a wave of endorsements that has helped propel Biden ahead of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who led the race prior to the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29.

Days before that vote, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., threw his support behind Biden. Clyburn is one of the state’s most influential politicians and has long enjoyed a reputation as a kingmaker in the presidential primary.

After Biden won in South Carolina, two other presidential candidates, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, dropped out and got behind him. Beto O’Rourke, who left the race in November, joined them in backing Biden. Bloomberg ended his campaign and endorsed Biden after the former vice president’s strong showing in the Super Tuesday primaries on March 3. As Biden racked up support from former rivals, he drew some of their backers and gained support from two other erstwhile opponents, Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Biden also had a strong performance in the slate of primaries on Tuesday night and added to his solid delegate lead over Sanders.

Biden now has endorsements from over 80 members of the House of Representatives and 14 U.S. Senators. In their statement, the House members described Biden as the toughest opponent for President Trump.

“Our nation cannot afford four more years of the chaos and failed leadership of the Trump administration. Too much is at stake for our democracy and common good,” the statement said. “Joe Biden will bring us back from the brink and unite us behind policies and a shared vision that will advance our great nation and ensure that we elect more Democrats to Congress and down the ballot.”

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