By Kim Lyons
U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-17th District, has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.
The Biden endorsement makes sense for the usually-cautious Lamb, with the former vice president continuing to lead the 2020 field in most voter polls and among endorsements from other Democrats.
“I have seen firsthand that Joe Biden knows the people of western Pennsylvania and shares our values,” Lamb said in a statement issued by the Biden campaign. “When he came to campaign for me last year, I saw huge crowds of working people cheer for him. I watched him stop and thank each police officer he passed. I heard him greet our local union leaders by name. Joe Biden respects our people, he knows what they are going through, and he knows what it means to keep your word.”
The carefully-crafted statement hits some crucial keywords for voters in Lamb’s suburban Pittsburgh district, which voted for President Trump by 2 percentage points in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton, before flipping for Lamb in 2018.
It notes that Biden has said he will “protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” and adds “when he says he will protect people with preexisting conditions, he is talking about something he went through with his own family,” an apparent reference to the 2015 death of Biden’s oldest son, Beau.
Biden campaigned for Lamb in Pennsylvania in 2018, saying a win in the district would have a “profound” impact.
“Conor knows what the people of this district need,” Biden said at the time.
By endorsing Biden, Lamb appears to be sticking to the formula that Vox points out he and other Democrats used to great success in the 2018 midterms.
In December, Lamb announced he was voting in favor of the two articles of impeachment against President Trump, well after most of the rest of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation.
The Marine Corps veteran is vice chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Biden also picked up an endorsement Monday from another military vet in the House, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, of the Chester County-based 6th District.
“As an Air Force veteran, engineer, entrepreneur, and educator, I have always been driven by a spirit of service,” Houlahan said in a statement from the Biden campaign.”These experiences played a significant role in shaping my values, character, and most importantly, my vision for America— a vision that Joe Biden shares.”
Biden now has received the endorsements of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and five of Pennsylvania’s nine Congressional Democrats.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Lamb will travel to New Hampshire to serve as a surrogate for Biden in an upcoming event.