Politics

The Candidates Philly-Area Officials Are Endorsing in the 2020 Presidential Race

Our regularly updated list of where party elites are throwing their weight, including endorsements from Mayor Jim Kenney, former mayor Michael Nutter, and lawmakers in swing districts.


Clockwise from top left: Joe Biden (AP Photo/Rob Griffith), Elizabeth Warren (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin), Michael Bloomberg (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File), Cory Booker (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

We’re still a month away from the first 2020 presidential caucus (in Iowa), two months from Super Tuesday, more than three months from the Pennsylvania primary, and, of course, ten months from the actual 2020 election. To aid you in your election season preparation, we’ve rounded up a list of the presidential candidates local politicians are endorsing in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, including power players like Mayor Jim Kenney, former mayor Michael Nutter, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, U.S. representatives in swing districts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and more. We’ll update it as endorsements come in throughout the year.

But first …

Before we dive in, it’s important to consider the implications of endorsements. While they certainly carry political weight, they aren’t necessarily accurate indicators of who’s ahead. For example, despite the fact that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — who, nationwide, has earned the most individual donations of any candidate so far — came second to former vice president Joe Biden in a poll conducted by Morning Consult between December 30th and January 5th, Sanders is not on this list (yet) because he hasn’t earned any local endorsements. Endorsements signify favorability among party elites, and Sanders is running as an outsider.

We’ve included all endorsements being tracked through Nate Silver‘s statistic analysis site FiveThirtyEightThe website uses an “endorsement point” system to reflect the value of different endorsements, with endorsements from current and former presidents and vice presidents ranking the highest (at 10 points) and DNC members ranking the lowest (at one point).


Joe Biden

(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

26 endorsement points (out of 76) in Pennsylvania; zero points (out of 60) in New Jersey; 184 points nationwide

  • U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (six points)
  • Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell (five points)
  • U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District (three points)

What it means: So far, Biden is the clear establishment party favorite across the nation, and Pennsylvania politicians are falling in line. (His strong ties to the state help, of course.) Scoring endorsements from U.S. representatives like Chrissy Houlahan (of Chester County) and Conor Lamb, who both represent battleground districts in a key swing state, adds to his reputation as a centrist candidate.


Elizabeth Warren

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Three endorsement points (out of 76) in Pennsylvania; zero (out of 60) in New Jersey; 71 points nationwide

  • Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (three points)
  • Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner*
  • Philadelphia City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier*
  • Philadelphia City Councilmember Isaiah Thomas*
  • Second Lady of Pennsylvania Gisele Barreto Fetterman*

What it means: Kenney was the first major-city mayor to throw his support behind Warren, one of the more progressive Democratic candidates. His doing so underscored Philly progressives’ ongoing tension with the rest of the state and the Democratic party establishment, which so far has mostly opted for Biden. (Endorsements from progressive firebrand Krasner and two of Philly’s young, newly elected City Councilmembers also speak to this.) It’s worth noting Kenney’s endorsement came before latecomer Michael Bloomberg, who spent millions supporting the mayor’s soda tax and reelection campaign, jumped into the race.


Michael Bloomberg

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

One endorsement point (out of 76) in Pennsylvania; zero points (out of 60) in New Jersey; 11 points nationwide

  • Former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter (one point)

What it means: Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, is a billionaire with some clout here in Philly. (The city has received millions in Bloomberg Philanthropies grants.) It’s not exactly surprising that Bloomberg earned an endorsement from Nutter, given that he’s national political chair of Bloomberg’s campaign.


Cory Booker

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Zero points (out of 76) in Pennsylvania; 57 points (out of 60) in New Jersey; 60 points nationwide

  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (eight points)
  • New Jersey U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (six points)
  • U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, New Jersey’s 1st Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., New Jersey’s 6th Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr., New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District (three points)
  • U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District (three points)

What it means: Booker is the former mayor of Newark and a current U.S. Senator for New Jersey. He’s well-liked in his home state.

*Not currently tracked by FiveThirtyEight