Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the I Will Vote Fundraising Gala Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Atlanta.
Caption
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the I Will Vote Fundraising Gala Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Atlanta.

More than two dozen black Georgia state legislators have endorsed Joe Biden for president ahead of the third Democratic primary debate in Houston Thursday night.

In a press release, the Biden campaign announced 59 total endorsements from black state lawmakers across the country, just hours before he was set to take the stage with nine other Democratic hopefuls.

“We are building a diverse coalition to create a path to the nomination that runs through the early states, Super Tuesday, and beyond,” campaign manager Greg Schultz wrote in a statement. “We are honored to have the support of these respected leaders from across the country who are helping us assemble the strongest campaign in the country.”

Support For Biden

In Georgia, that includes Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain), who is also the president-elect of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, Rep. Karen Bennett (D-Stone Mountain), the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus chair, and Rep. James Beverly (D-Macon), chair of the Georgia House Democratic Caucus.

The slate of endorsements from Georgia officials are not the first for the former vice president. Georgia’s longest-serving House Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) told the Atlanta Journal-Consitution last month Biden “[has] got the stature, the experience and the knowledge” and meets all the requirements for a president." Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland also voiced his support hours after Biden formally declared.

The support for the presidential hopeful has also come in from city leaders. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms endorsed Biden in June ahead of the first set of Democratic presidential debates and will be stumping for him in South Carolina over a three-day stretch later in September.

MORE: Georgia 2020 Primary Campaign Endorsements

Biden’s frontrunner status in polling is bolstered by support from black voters, a central demographic to his campaign strategy in early primary states like South Carolina.

A CNN poll released this week found 42% of black voters support Biden’s candidacy, a sizable advantage over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who's polling at 12% among African Americans and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with about 10% of the expected vote. 

Other Endorsements

But Biden was not the only White House hopeful who has attracted Georgia support.

California Sen. Kamala Harris has been endorsed by state House Minority Leader Bob Trammell (D-Luthersville), Gwinnett County School Board member Everton Blair and Rep. Erick Allen (D-Smyrna).

State Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) and state Rep. David Dreyer (D-Atlanta) both endorsed New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker in mid-August.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is backed by Atlanta City Councilman Amir Fahroki and Rep. Matthew Wilson (D-Brookhaven).

Georgia’s presidential preference primary is scheduled for March 24, 2020, and should be the first time voters statewide will use the new $107 million ballot-marking device voting system purchased earlier this year.