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Joe Biden Unveils New Texas Endorsements As He Visits San Antonio

Former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at the National Education association presidential forum in Houston on Friday, July 5, 2019.
Michael Stravato
The Texas Tribune
Former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at the National Education association presidential forum in Houston on Friday, July 5, 2019.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is unveiling a new round of Texas endorsements as he heads to San Antonio on Friday for his latest campaign swing through the Super Tuesday state.

The endorsements, first shared with The Texas Tribune, include state Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio, state Rep. Rhetta Bowers of Garland, state Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston, Dallas County Clerk John Warren and former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger. Bowers, who flipped a Dallas-area seat last year, previously endorsed Beto O'Rourke, the former El Paso congressman who dropped out of the presidential race last month.

The fresh wave of support comes as Biden, the former vice president, continues to top most polls ahead of the state's delegate-rich March 3 primary.

"The Lone Star State will play a crucial role in 2020," Biden's state director, Jane Hamilton, said in a statement."These Texans who have joined with us today are ready for that fight, and they know that Joe Biden can unite the country across party lines to defeat Donald Trump."

Biden's latest supporters add to a Texas endorsement list that is rivaled in the primary by just that of Julián Castro, the sole remaining Texan in the race. Biden nonetheless boasts the most endorsements from the Texas congressional delegation (four) and is tied with Castro in state Senate supporters (three).

Among Biden's newest backers, Hardberger has perhaps the most history with Castro, who succeeded Hardberger as San Antonio mayor. Castro first ran against Hardberger in the 2005 mayoral race and narrowly lost before running again and winning four years later once Hardberger reached his term limit.

In the 2020 primary, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is leading the way in building out a Texas organization, though Biden's campaign is also laying the groundwork for a serious effort here. He is the only other candidate with a state director, and Hamilton said in the statement that the campaign is continuing "to build an aggressive ground game in Texas."

Warren's campaign revealed last week that it now has "over two dozen full-time senior staffers and organizers" spread across San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley. The campaign is holding office openings Saturday in Austin and San Antonio.

During his trip to San Antonio today, Biden is set to hold a "community event" in the afternoon at Plaza Juarez in La Villita Historic Arts Village, followed by a fundraiser at the home of local trial lawyers Anna and Jamie Shaw. Mikal Watts, another trial attorney and a prominent Democratic donor, is also hosting the fundraiser, and U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville is being billed as a special guest. Vela endorsed Biden in May, the first member of the Texas delegation to do so. Tickets to the fundraiser are $1,000 and $2,800, according to an invitation.

The San Antonio visit is Biden's fourth trip to Texas as a 2020 presidential hopeful. He last came to the state in September for a tour centered on the third primary debate in Houston.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

Disclosure: Mikal Watts has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Patrick Svitek is a reporter for the Texas Tribune. He previously worked for the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau. He graduated in 2014 from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He originally is from Fort Wayne, Indiana.