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U.S. Senator Cory Booker, center, shakes hands with U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond as they sit together at Xavier University in New Orleans on Friday, January 18, 2019.

It’s way to early for endorsements in the 2020 presidential contest, but it’s already clear that one likely Democratic candidate can count on some high-level support from Louisiana.

Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who has said that he does not plan to run at this point, has long contended that former Vice President Joe Biden would be the party’s best hope for success in next year’s general election.

It turns out that U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, the state’s only Democrat in Congress, a recent chair of the high profile Congressional Black Caucus and now assistant to the House majority whip, agrees.

Richmond, who spent time with Biden when he passed through New Orleans last year, told The New York Times this week that he too thinks the former veep is the party’s “best candidate to beat (President Donald) Trump.”

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Richmond hasn’t endorsed, and he’s had visible contact with other members of the large field. Last year he shared a Dillard University stage with Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, and in January he introduced New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker at Xavier University.

But it appears the congressman is close enough to be in telephone contact with Biden, including last week as he closed in on his decision. Biden didn’t say he was in, but Richmond told the Times that he thinks it’s just a matter of time.

“I absolutely believe he’s going to run,” Richmond said. “There may still be some doubt in his mind but there’s no doubt in my mind.”


Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.