Former Democratic presidential primary candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar plan to endorse former vice president Joe Biden ahead of the crucial Super Tuesday elections, according to sources who spoke to Reuters.
A campaign aide for Klobuchar said she plans to endorse Biden when she formally announces the suspension of her campaign during a Biden rally in Dallas on Monday night. A top advisor for Buttigieg said the former South Bend mayor also intends to endorse Biden.
The two endorsements give Biden an informal lead in total delegate count, since the pledged delegates are likely to stick with the endorsements. Buttigieg and Klobuchar won a total of 33 candidates before dropping out of the race. Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) formally leads the race with 60 delegates to Biden’s 54.
While there are no rules for who the Klobuchar and Buttigieg delegates should vote for during the national convention, the 2020 delegate rules state that “delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”
Biden scored a solid victory in South Carolina on Saturday but is still second to Sanders in both national polling and formal delegate count. Biden racked up additional endorsements on Monday from former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, and former CIA Director John Brennan.
The win in South Carolina and the new endorsements give Biden’s campaign a much-needed boost as the former vice president heads into Tuesday trailing Sanders in polling in six of the eight most populous Super Tuesday states, including California and Texas.
“Joe Biden is one of the most honest, decent, practical, & experienced individuals with whom I have ever worked. If nominated & elected, he is capable of unifying our country & restoring America’s standing around the world,” Brennan wrote on Twitter.
Sanders picked up a pair of media endorsements, one from The Nation, a left-wing magazine, and another from Yemeni American News.
“The democratic socialist is the only candidate with a program both realistic and radical enough to meet the challenges of our time,” the publication’s endorsement stated.
Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will appear on the ballots for the first time on Tuesday. Bloomberg has poured more than $500 million into advertising.
Five candidates remain for the nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the November election, down from more than 20 earlier in the race. Biden still trails his opponents in fundraising. Sanders announced a staggering $46 million haul for February.
Buttigieg, who entered the Democratic presidential race as a relative unknown, ended his White House bid on Sunday. Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer gave up his campaign on Saturday night after a third-place finish in South Carolina where he had invested most heavily.
Reuters contributed to this report.