Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris greets local residents during the West Des Moines Democrats' annual picnic, Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Dem debates fuel race for support from Black Caucus members

July 03, 2019 - 6:31 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidates are engaged in a primary-within-the primary for support from the nation's most influential black lawmakers.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are increasingly splitting their endorsements, chiefly between front-runner Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, a week after the two sparred over race in the party's first presidential debates.

Harris criticized Biden over his remarks about segregationists. She has landed a trio of endorsements from the caucus in the days since.

The jockeying reflects a broader split among black Democrats as the larger party weighs a massive field of presidential hopefuls seven months from the first primary voting. As of Wednesday, a flurry of phone calls from the candidates to black lawmakers had given Harris seven endorsements from caucus members, while Biden had five.