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Congressional Hispanic Caucus' campaign arm endorses Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden has received the presidential endorsement of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ campaign arm, signaling his growing strength among a constituency that has long been key to rival Bernie Sanders’ success.

In a statement Friday, Rep. Tony Cardenas, the chairman of BOLD PAC — which represents the 37-member Congressional Hispanic Caucus and works to elect Latinos to Congress — said Biden was the first to meet with the group, and they believed that, if he were elected president, he would fight for the nation’s millions of Latinos and people in the U.S. illegally.

“The current public health crisis of COVID-19 has further exposed the lack of competence in the White House and the need — now more than ever — for an empathic, decisive, and experienced leader who will put science and facts before politics. Vice President Joe Biden has shown he can do just that,” said Cardenas, D-Calif.

Biden holds an essentially insurmountable delegate lead over Sanders, his last remaining Democratic rival, but the Vermont senator remains in the race. The winner will face President Donald Trump in November's general election.

Biden had already racked up a handful of endorsements from prominent Latino elected officials, including Cardenas, who endorsed him in December. But the endorsement from the full group is the latest signal that Biden is making inroads among Latinos, a constituency that’s shown strong support for Sanders and helped drive some of his early primary successes.

Sanders made Latino outreach a centerpiece of his 2020 presidential campaign in many states, holding Spanish-language organizing and campaign events. He also appeared often on the trail with one of his highest-profile Latina endorsers, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has become the new face of the progressive movement and is a CHC member herself.

But the Biden campaign made a significant investment in appealing to Latino voters in the March 17 primary states of Florida, Arizona and Illinois, and the investment appeared to have paid off — he won all three states with significant margins over Sanders.

Data from AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of the electorate, found Biden won Latino voters in Florida, while Sanders held a slight edge over the former vice president in Illinois. Biden also pulled about even with Sanders in Arizona, where Latinos made up 27% of the state's Democratic primary voters. Voters were closely divided between the two in Arizona's cities, while Biden had a modest edge in other communities.

Associated Press writers Josh Boak and Hannah Fingerhut contributed to this report.

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