Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin, D-4th, on Monday endorsed Joe Biden for president in the Democratic primary ahead of 2020.

McEachin’s early endorsement of Biden comes less than two weeks after the former vice president officially launched his campaign following months of speculation.

McEachin said he has “long been an admirer” of Biden, but added that the impetus behind his endorsement is his belief that Biden is Democrats’ best shot at defeating President Donald Trump.

“I know he can defeat President Trump, and that must be our first priority,” McEachin said in a statement. “He is our best chance to ensure that we reclaim America and that, together, we can then offer progressive, inclusive solutions to the many issues before us.”

Biden, who has topped polls in key primary states, joined a crowded Democratic primary field with a record number of female and minority candidates.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who considered a run for president himself, has stopped short of endorsing Biden.

“I love the guy,” McAuliffe said of Biden when he announced he would not run for president. “I’m a big fan.”

McEachin is the second Democrat in Virginia’s congressional delegation to endorse in the primary. Rep. Don Beyer, D-8th, last month endorsed South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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mleonor@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6254

Twitter: @MelLeonor_

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