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Pete Buttigieg lands key New Hampshire endorsement

N.H. congresswoman endorses Buttigieg

New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster endorsed former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday, becoming the first member of the first-in-the-nation primary state's congressional delegation to back a presidential contender.

Kuster, who sat on the steering committees for then-Senators Barack Obama in 2007-08 and John Kerry in 2003-04, has been named national co-chair of the Buttigieg campaign.

The Concord, New Hampshire native will make her support official at a town hall in her hometown Friday at Gibson's Bookstore. Kuster first introduced the South Bend native before the bookstore retail stop last April. Kuster joined Buttigieg twice more at campaign stops in New London and Claremont last fall.

"With our country so consumed by division, Pete Buttigieg is the leader who can finally turn the page on the Trump presidency and bring our nation together to usher in a new era where we finally solve our most urgent problems," Kuster said in a statement. "We need a leader who recognizes that the office of the presidency has the power to bridge our differences — and Pete Buttigieg is that leader. Like Barack Obama before him, Pete is young, inspiring, brings fresh ideas to the table, and is motivated to win."

The most recent CBS News Battleground Tracker poll found Buttigieg in fourth place in New Hampshire with 13% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters. He trails Senator Bernie Sanders, who has 27% support, former Vice President Joe Biden at 25%, and Senator Elizabeth Warren at 18%.

Kuster represents New Hampshire's solidly-blue second congressional district, spanning much of northwest New Hampshire, from from Nashua to Berlin. The former attorney and lobbyist defeated incumbent Republican Congressman Charles Bass in 2012, flipping the district.

Hillary Clinton carried the second congressional district by just around two points during the 2016 election.

"The importance of four term NH Congresswoman @AnnMcLaneKuster's endorsement of @PeteButtigieg cannot be overstated in a year anyone could win NH," New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley wrote on Twitter. "The last four nominees of the party were endorsed by Annie. Most impressive endorsement in NH so far this cycle."

The three other members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation — Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Maggie Hassan and Congressman Chris Pappas — have held off on announcing their presidential picks amid a crowded field of contenders. Shaheen, a veteran lawmaker who is up for Senate re-election in 2020, previously stated she will not endorse a presidential candidate during the primaries.

The New Hampshire primary will take place February 11.

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