State Sen. Janet Cruz is the latest prominent Florida Democrat to back Joe Biden’s bid for the White House.
The Tampa lawmaker said Tuesday that she is supporting the former vice president over his 20 opponents because he’s “a candidate that we know, he’s a candidate that will restore honor and integrity to the office.”
“When I stand with Joe, I feel like I’m talking to someone who is capable of leading our country — mature, brilliant and caring,” said Cruz, who rallied Democrats alongside Biden at a Tampa campaign event last October.
Cruz, a former leader of Democrats in the Florida House of Representatives, narrowly won a race last year to represent Tampa in the state Senate. Her district includes one of the region’s largest Latino populations, which she said was a factor in her decision as many of her constituents are troubled by President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Biden, she said, “has made a commitment to Latinos who are going to have a voice in this campaign at the highest level.”
Her endorsement comes a month after Biden announced support from two long-time faces of the state Democratic Party, former U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Bob Graham.
At last check, Biden had a 27-point lead over the rest of the field in Florida, but that survey from Quinnipiac came in June, before the first two rounds of debates. The other Democratic challengers have used the debate stage to raise questions about Biden’s progressive chops as a senator from Delaware from the 1980s until he became President Barack Obama’s no. 2.
Subsequent national polls have shown Biden tumble a bit while other candidates, especially U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, closing in.
Cruz said she was unphased by some of the concerns raised about Biden’s record and the attacks are “sensational comments and sound bites to gain points on the front runner.”
“When people get personal I think it’s ridiculous,” Cruz said. “Joe Biden is the front runner so he’s going to take shots. It’s unfortunate that’s the nature of campaigning.”