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More than half of Mass. delegation holds off on backing Warren’s White House bid

Elizabeth Warren. Kevin Wolf/Associated Press/FR33460 AP via AP

As Senator Elizabeth Warren jets off to Iowa, California, Georgia, and Puerto Rico looking for support for her budding presidential campaign, she may have some unfinished business back home.

A Globe survey of the Massachusetts congressional delegation showed more members have held off on endorsing the state’s senior US senator than have announced they are backing her national bid.

It’s always a show of force for a presidential candidate to announce support from their home-state colleagues — as well as one of the first steps in the campaign. Senator Cory Booker, for example, boasted last week that all other members of the US House and Senate from his home state of New Jersey — 12 in all — have endorsed his presidential campaign.


But senators and representatives from Massachusetts, in particular, punch above their weight in Washington. The delegation — 11 Democrats, including Warren — boasts two powerful committee chairmen, a member of House leadership, and at least one rising star in the national Democratic Party.

Indeed, when Warren kicked off her presidential campaign in early February, she showcased those members who were with her. Introducing her were Senator Ed Markey, and Representatives Lori Trahan of Lowell and Joseph Kennedy III of Newton. Not at the rally, but who is now also backing Warren, was Representative Jim McGovern of Worcester.

“I’m with Elizabeth. I believe in her agenda. I believe she can take on Trump. And I believe she will be a great president,” said McGovern in a statement to the Globe.

But the rest of the delegation presents a mixed bag for the Cambridge Democrat.

“Massachusetts has a great congressional delegation and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Warren said in a statement. “We will keep working together to make our government work for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”


In fairness, it’s early in the campaign and Warren may eventually win over her colleagues. And other than Booker and Senator Bernie Sanders, no one else in the race has completely locked down their own home delegations. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has secured support from two of the five Democrats of her home state, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has not announced any endorsements from the 21 House Democrats from New York.

In Massachusetts, five members have yet to endorse any presidential candidate and another has made his preference clear for another White House hopeful.

Representative Stephen Lynch, of South Boston, has said he is waiting for former vice president Joe Biden to jump into the contest. At a news conference in January, Lynch said that for someone else to get his endorsement “either [Biden] would have to not be a candidate, or . . . someone would really have to stand out.” Biden has not announced a campaign yet, although he’s expected to enter the race.

Meanwhile, Representative Seth Moulton, of Salem, is exploring a run for president himself — but Warren did ask for his endorsement, he said. Moulton said Warren called him in December to let him know she was running and wanted his support, even as she understood he was still thinking through his own future.

“She is a good friend,” Moulton said about Warren earlier in the month while in New Hampshire.


Among those who have not committed yet to a candidate is new Representative Ayanna Pressley, who, in addition to being the first black woman elected to Congress from the state, is among the highest-profile House freshman in the country after her upset win.

Last year, Warren declined to endorse her or her primary opponent, Michael E. Capuano, then a 10-term representative. (This was seen as something of a boon for Pressley because incumbents typically back each other in tough races.)

Now it is Pressley who has the sought-after endorsement. For example, earlier this month on Pressley’s birthday, Senator Kamala Harris sent a flattering tweet honoring the congresswoman as part of Black History Month. For her part, Harris has also rolled out several endorsements from her very large home state of California.

In a statement, Pressley, of Boston, said her focus is on her new job and constituents, “but I’m encouraged by the growing field of Democratic candidates and look forward to working to take back the White House and make real progress for the American people.”

Like Pressley, Representative Katherine Clark, of Melrose, hasn’t endorsed any candidate in the 2020 campaign. But it’s worth noting that Warren met with Clark privately in Washington in December to specifically ask for her endorsement, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

“I’m very excited about Senator Warren’s candidacy,” said Clark in response to Globe asking whether she was endorsing Warren. “She’s putting a spotlight on issues that matter most to American families: the cost of child care, corruption out of politics, and making sure our economy works for everyone.”


Representative Richard Neal, of Springfield, who is the longest-serving House member from the state, isn’t quite ready to join the Warren team either, according to his office.

“At the moment, Congressman Neal is focused on the needs of his district and his responsibilities as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee,” said Neal spokesman William Tranghese. “However, he values his friendship with Senator Warren and believes she will wage a spirited campaign.”

Through a spokesman, Representative Bill Keating, of Bourne, said “it is too early” for him to endorse a candidate.

“However, Congressman Keating considers Senator Warren a good friend who has always been a strong partner working for Massachusetts,” the spokesman said.

James Pindell can be reached at james.pindell@globe.com. Subscribe to his Ground Game newsletter on politics:http: //pages.email.bostonglobe.com/GroundGameSignUp