Biden in Loudoun

MEL LEONOR/RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH Former Vice President Joe Biden, joined by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, campaigned for Democratic legislative candidates Nov. 3 in Sterling, in Loudoun County.

RICHMOND — Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe endorsed Joe Biden for president on Saturday night, saying he is the candidate who has the best chance to beat President Donald Trump.

McAuliffe also said he hopes that some of the Democratic presidential candidates who "do not have a pathway" will get out of the race as early as Sunday, without waiting for Super Tuesday.

McAuliffe, who is working as a political commentator for CNN, made the announcement on air just after the network declared Biden the winner in Saturday's South Carolina primary.

"I've thought long and hard about this," McAuliffe said. "For me it's about beating Donald Trump and to me it's an electability issue."

McAuliffe's announcement hardly comes as a surprise. He held a fundraiser for the vice president in November at his Fairfax County home and his wife, former first lady Dorothy McAuliffe, is a surrogate for the Biden campaign.

McAuliffe said he is concerned about the tough re-election fights Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th and Elaine Luria, D-2nd, face this fall in swing districts. He said having Biden at the top of the Democratic ticket would be the best for their re-election chances. Luria has endorsed Biden. Spanberger is neutral in the nomination contest.

Several key members of Virginia's Democratic establishment have endorsed Biden ahead of Super Tuesday. On Friday, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Henrico, head of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, announced their support. McAuliffe and Kaine will join Biden Sunday night at a campaign stop in Norfolk.

McAuliffe, Virginia's governor from 2014 to 2018, considered his own White House bid before announcing in April that he would not run for president. He has not ruled out another run for governor in 2021.

acain@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6645

Twitter: @AndrewCainRTD

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