Michigan governor endorses Biden ahead of primary

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Thursday endorsed Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE for president, a significant boost for the former vice president ahead of next week’s primary in the Wolverine State.

Whitmer, whose state’s primary will allocate 125 pledged delegates, cast Biden as an advocate for working families, citing his work on health care, bailing out the auto industry and more during his time in the Obama administration.

“Working families in Michigan need a president who will show up and fight for them, and Joe Biden has proven time and again that he has our backs,” she said in a statement. “Michiganders have grit. We’re tough. We know what it’s like to be overlooked and counted out. And we know that when you get knocked down, you pick yourself up and get back to work. Joe Biden has been right there with us in the tough fights.” 

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“Joe Biden is the candidate we need to defeat Donald Trump in November. He’s always had our backs. Now, I’m proud to have his,” added Whitmer, who is also being named a national co-chair to Biden’s campaign.

Whitmer said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Biden’s commitment to expanding health care was personal to her, noting that the same type of brain tumor killed both her mother and Biden’s son.

“I have commiserated about Joe about this very thing,” she said of her mother’s brain cancer diagnosis. “I know his commitment.” 

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Biden is set for up for a battle in Michigan next week with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), who narrowly took the state’s primary in 2016 over former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE.

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The Wolverine State is a key contest for both candidates’ claims of support from white working-class voters. The state was one of the key victories, along with others in the Rust Belt, for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE in the 2016 general election.

Whitmer, who was endorsed by Biden during her 2018 gubernatorial bid, has steadily gained a national profile after winning the gubernatorial election two years ago and delivering the Democratic Party’s response to President Trump’s State of the Union in February. 

Her endorsement comes just one day after former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm also threw her support behind the former vice president.

They are just the latest in a slew of establishment Democratic figures falling in line behind Biden after resounding victories in South Carolina and several Super Tuesday states vaulted him back into the front-runner position in the primary.

Though Biden put up underwhelming showings in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, a 30-point win in the Palmetto State and victories in 10 out of 14 Super Tuesday states have revived his campaign, setting him up to have a narrow delegate lead after all of California’s primary votes are tallied.

Sanders, meanwhile, won California, Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont on Super Tuesday.

Biden appears set to capitalize on his Super Tuesday resurgence in upcoming primary and caucus states, which consist heavily of demographics that appear to favor the former vice president. Six more states will cast ballots on Tuesday, with Michigan representing the heftiest delegate haul.