The Latest: Nevada’s lieutenant governor endorses Biden

Political

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at the Clark County Democratic Party “Kick-Off to Caucus 2020” event, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 presidential campaign (all times PST):

3:30 p.m.

Joe Biden has picked up another endorsement from a top Nevada politician, with Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall announcing that she will back the former vice president’s White House bid.

Marshall joins two of the state’s four U.S. House members, Reps. Dina Titus and Steven Horsford, in backing Biden.

Marshall plans to campaign with Biden on Monday in Reno. Biden has spent the weekend campaigning alongside Titus and Horsford in and around Las Vegas ahead of Saturday’s caucuses.

Nevada is key to Biden’s hopes for a comeback after finishing fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire. Nevada also is the first contest where organized labor and nonwhite voters hold significant sway, both counted by Biden as constituencies.

Marshall cited Biden’s experience and temperament in explaining her decision. She tells The Associated Press that he will “put people over party, build consensus, and get big things done.”

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3:30 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen Elizabeth Warren is battling a cold as she tries to rally her supporters before the Nevada caucuses.

Warren was barely audible before a crowd in Reno, saying the bad news was she had finally caught a cold after posing for more than 100,000 pictures with supporters. The good news, she said, is she would “persist.”

In a hoarse, cracking voice, Warren gave a truncated version of her standard stump speech. Her weary tone injected poignancy into her reminiscences about being a young working mother on the verge of quitting her job for lack of child care who was saved by an aunt relocating from Oklahoma to help.

“I think of how close I got to getting knocked off the track,” Warren said. Today, she lamented, women have an even harder time finding affordable child care.

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3:25 p.m.

Pete Buttigieg is wooing voters of color as he looks to show he can repeat his strong finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire in states that more closely mirror the country’s diversity.

Buttigieg told a largely African American audience at a luncheon for the Nevada Legislative Black Caucus on Sunday that he worked with black leaders of South Bend, Indiana, to deliver affordable housing and improve the black unemployment rate.

The former mayor has faced criticism for the racial disparity in marijuana arrests in South Bend and decisions that led him to have no African American leaders in his administration during a crucial stretch of his tenure. More than a quarter of South Bend residents are black.

Asked at a rally earlier Sunday to name a mistake he’d made in office, Buttigieg said he failed to recognize the pain that his decisions caused, particularly for communities of color. He campaigned much of Sunday with African American comedian Keegan-Michael Key.

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1:55 p.m.

The president of a civil rights organization once led by Martin Luther King Jr. says that Tom Steyer is the presidential candidate perhaps best suited to speak directly to some of the concerns weighing on black voters’ minds.

Charles Steele is president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He doesn’t officially endorse presidential candidates, but Steele told The Associated Press during a trip to Columbia on Sunday that he’s impressed with Steyer’s commitment to discussing issues important in the black community, including reparations and funding for historically black colleges and universities.

Steele says he thinks Steyer is the candidate who can motivate and excite voters who might be feeling complacent about the 2020 election.

Steyer has been investing heavily in efforts to garner support from South Carolina’s black voters, who comprise the majority of the Democratic primary voting electorate.

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1:30 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is being unusually direct in attacking some of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In a speech in Carson City, Nevada, Sanders spent most of his time lacerating billionaire and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is spending hundreds of millions of his own money on ads.

Sanders said Bloomberg is “trying to buy the presidency” and that Bloomberg was bored and decided he wanted to be president.

Sanders also singled out by name former vice president Joe Biden and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as two other candidates who raise money from billionaires. He also slammed what he called the corporate, media, GOP and Democratic establishments for trying to stand in his way.

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1:25 p.m.

Joe Biden wants black voters to see the 2020 presidential election as an opportunity similar to the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, and he implicitly compared President Donald Trump to white racist politicians of the Jim Crow era.

The former vice president spoke Sunday to worshipers at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in North Las Vegas. He reminded older parishioners of television footage of black protesters in Birmingham, Alabama, being attacked by police dogs and sprayed with fire hoses on the orders of city official Bull Connor.

Biden said today’s racists are not “Bull Connors, not out in overalls. They’re wearing fine suits, and they’re living in the White House.”

Biden said voters can stand up and “take back this country in a way that just like we did back in the ‘50s and ’60s, and this time we can make more progress.” He cited the need for progress on health care and gun laws.

Biden will depend heavily on black, Latino and other nonwhite voters in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses and the Feb. 29 South Carolina primary after faring poorly in overwhelmingly white Iowa and New Hampshire.

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12:15 p.m.

Pete Buttigieg says he’d immediately reverse restrictions on family planning funds for Planned Parenthood and would seek to overturn a federal ban on funding for abortion.

The former South Bend, Indiana mayor told Planned Parenthood supporters outside Las Vegas on Sunday that his health care plan would “support, reimburse and fund” abortion and family planning.

He says a growing number of state laws that target abortion providers are making it harder for poor women, people of color and those in rural areas to get health care.

Buttigieg also says the federal government should pay for needle exchange programs that give intravenous drug users clean needles to prevent the spread of diseases like HIV. He says too often, aggressive law enforcement hampers progress by public health authorities who try to limit the spread of diseases among drug users.

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9:15 a.m.

South Carolina’s leading congressional Democrat says he’s carefully watching efforts by several campaigns aiming to cut into former Vice President Joe Biden’s support in the state.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told CNN on Sunday that California climate activist and billionaire Tom Steyer, who has been campaigning heavily to black voters, is doing “an incredible job.” Clyburn says Steyer has money and it “makes a difference.”

Clyburn also said former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg “is doing very good.”

Clyburn, who had previously said Buttigieg may have trouble with older black voters because he is gay, said Sunday, “We mature. And I think their political calculations are changing quite a bit.”

Clyburn‘s grandson is working for Buttigieg‘s South Carolina campaign.

Biden has led polling in the state, the first to feature a heavily black electorate. But recent surveys show his support in that demographic falling nationally.

Asked directly if South Carolina is Biden’s “firewall,” where success or failure could make or break his campaign in the states that follow, Clyburn said, “Well, I don’t know. We will see.”

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7:45 a.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg says he’s proud of his marriage and his husband. He was addressing comments from conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh about whether voters would elect him because he’s been “kissing his husband” on stage after debates.

Buttigieg says America should have politics that welcomes everybody and that “I’m not going to be lectured on family values from the like of Rush Limbaugh, or anybody who supports Donald J. Trump as the moral as well as the political leader of the United States.”

Limbaugh said this past week that he envisioned Democrats concluding that “despite all the great ground that’s been covered, that America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president.”

Buttigieg said he came out as gay during a general election as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and received more support from voters than he did in his first race.

Buttigieg spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union’’ and ”Fox News Sunday.’’ He noted that while he loves his husband, that on stage, “we usually just go for a hug.”

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7:30 a.m.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar says her Democratic presidential campaign has raised $12 million over the past week, citing greater voter interest after her performance in New Hampshire.

The Minnesota senator tells ABC’s “This Week” that she is benefiting from a surge of people who have discovered her campaign after the New Hampshire debate on Feb. 7 and a better-than-expected third-place finish in the state’s primary.

She’s billing the fundraising support as momentum that will allow her to be competitive on the airwaves heading into the Nevada caucus and Super Tuesday contests in early March.

Klobuchar says when she announced her candidacy, many people counted her out, but as voters get to know her, they relate to what her campaign is focused on. She says that campaign message is about “bringing back decency to the White House, and most importantly, having a president that can actually put herself in the shoes of other people in this country.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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