July 30, 2019

Haaland endorses Warren for president

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Gage Skidmore

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

New Mexico congresswoman Deb Haaland endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president on Tuesday.

Haaland endorsed the Massachusetts U.S. Senator along with a number of other members of Congress ahead of Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, which Warren will debate against Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and six other candidates. 

In a statement announcing her endorsement, Haaland said she made the endorsement “because it is time for the American people to have a champion.”

“We’ve worked together to introduce legislation that demands a solution to unsafe military housing, tackles the opioid crisis, and provides universal child care. Elizabeth has been a great friend to me and a great partner for Indian Country,” Haaland said.

Haaland became the first enrolled Native American woman to be elected to Congress, along with Sharice Davids of Kansas, after winning election in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in 2018.

Other members of Congress who endorsed Warren include Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and former Progressive Caucus chair Raúl Grijalva of Arizona.

No other member of New Mexico’s delegation has endorsed a candidate in the Democratic primary, which currently has 24 candidates running. 

Endorsements from members of Congress carry less weight in this presidential election than they did in the past. The members of Congress, along with other party leaders and activists, previously had votes as “superdelegates” which Sanders’ campaign and supporters objected to in 2016 when he lost the Democratic primary to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Unlike pledged delegates, whose votes are directed by the results of caucuses and primaries, superdelegates got to choose which candidate they supported independently of any elections.

Now, superdelegates will not vote on the first ballot of any convention; in other words, their votes will only matter if a candidate does not secure the majority of pledged delegates.

On Wednesday night, another ten candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden and California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, will debate on the second night of the scheduled debate. Another four announced Democratic candidates did not qualify for the debate.