Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts has endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in the 2020 presidential race, breaking with fellow first-term progressive women of color who call themselves “the Squad.”
“At a time when so many people find their lives threatened and their dreams denied, we need bold, compassionate leaders who put power back in the hands of people,” Pressley said in an email to supporters on Wednesday. “I am so grateful to call Elizabeth Warren a friend, a partner in good, and my Senator. I am proud to endorse her candidacy for President.”
Pressley released a video announcement along with her emailed statement and said she would join Warren on the campaign trail on Thursday in North Carolina.
“I have seen Ms. Warren in small church basements and in packed gymnasiums,” Pressley said in the video. “And she is consistent. She never loses sight of the people.”
Warren retweeted Pressley’s video on Wednesday, writing: “I’m proud to be fighting alongside you to put power in the hands of the people.”
Pressley’s endorsement grants Warren a high-profile congressional backer and may also boost her standing with Black voters in her quest to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.
Last year, Pressley became Massachusetts’ first Black woman elected to Congress. She was the first woman of color elected to the Boston City Council in 2009.
The current Democratic front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, has a substantial lead among Black voters nationally and in South Carolina ― the first state in the South to hold its primary. Black voters comprise more than 60% of the state’s electorate.
Pressley’s endorsement comes a day after Biden published an essay that appeared to escalate his feud with Warren over their competing health care plans, and characterized Warren as elitist and condescending.
Biden and Warren, along with at least seven other Democratic candidates, will face off at a Nov. 20 debate in Georgia.