Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden

Ten members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, about six months before the state’s 2020 presidential primary.

The 10 Mississippi lawmakers are included in a group of 59 African American legislators from across the country who endorsed Biden on Thursday, according to a Biden campaign press release. The endorsements from Mississippi are the most of any state.

“I can’t think of a reason not to support him,” said Sen. Angela Turner-Ford, D-West Point, and chairwoman of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus. “During his years as vice president, I thought he assisted President Obama in a way I could be proud of. I’d like to see that leadership continue.”

State Sen. Angela Turner Ford, D-West Point, raises a question during bills discussion in the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.

Joining Turner-Ford in endorsing Biden on Thursday were Sens. Derrick Simmons, Barbara Blackmon, John Horhn and Sollie Norwood, as well as Reps. Chris Bell, Edward Blackmon, Cedric Burnett, Carl Mickens and Kenneth Walker.

Biden has commanded the only two public polls regarding the 2020 Democratic presidential primary conducted in the state this year, garnering 50 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in a June poll from Millsaps College/Chism Strategies, and 47 percent of Democratic respondents in a July poll from NBC News/SurveyMonkey.

The former vice president faced blowback from Democrats and African Americans across the country earlier this year when he cited his relationship with segregationist U.S. Sen. Jim Eastland of Mississippi as evidence of his skills as a consensus builder.

“At least there was some civility,” Biden said of Eastland at a June fundraiser in New York. “We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition — the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

The Millsaps/Chism Strategies survey in which Biden showed 50 percent support among likely Democratic primary candidates was conducted two days after Biden’s comments about Eastland surfaced.

Biden faces nine Democratic primary candidates in the third Democratic debate of the 2020 cycle on Thursday night on ABC.

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Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.