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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Murray’s choice for Democratic nominee: Whoever can beat Trump

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., center, walks on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 5, 2020, during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Asked Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, who she will support in the Democratic contest to become the party’s presidential nominee, Murray said, “Whoever can beat Trump.” (Patrick Semansky / AP)

OLYMPIA – As the presidential nominating process moves to Nevada, Washington’s senior senator said she’s not endorsing any of the Democratic contenders at this point and is open to anyone who comes out on top.

“Whoever can beat Trump,” Sen. Patty Murray said Wednesday during a question-and-answer session with the state capital press corps. “Whoever the Democrats put in place.”

Murray knows and works with three of the main contenders – Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar – and will have to continue working with whomever doesn’t become the nominee. She also knows former Vice President Joe Biden from his days in the Senate.

Not so with the newest entrant to race, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

“I do not know him,” Murray said.

But that doesn’t mean she has reservations at this point about supporting Bloomberg – or former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg, for that matter – if he gets the nomination.

“I will back whoever becomes the nominee,” she reiterated.

As a member of Congress, Murray is an automatic delegate to the Democratic National Convention. But unlike in previous years, those automatic delegates – sometimes called super delegates – won’t be eligible to vote for a nominee on the first convention ballot. Their votes will only come into play if the convention needs two or more ballots to select a nominee.

After his acquittal in the impeachment trial, some of her Republican colleagues said they thought President Donald Trump had learned a lesson and would change his behavior. Murray said it seems clear that hasn’t happened, adding he seems to be “taking full advantage” of his acquittal with a recent round of pardons and clemency.

“Trump has been president for three and a half years,” Murray said. “It’s hard for me to tell you I’m surprised, but I’m surprised on a daily basis.”