Joe Biden met Thursday with a group of Southern black mayors representing millions of voters in urban centers who could play a key role in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

A day after the latest presidential debate in Atlanta, Biden was joined by the city’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who has already endorsed him as the party’s nominee. She made her case to mayors from cities including Birmingham, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Jackson, Mississippi; and Richmond, Virginia, as to why they should also consider backing the former vice president.

“This is about winning,” Bottoms told the group. “I give the analogy that if we agreed on everything, we’d be engaged. This is about a marriage.”

The meeting is a signal of the importance of black voters to Biden’s bid for the Democratic nomination. He’s faced a series of controversies and gaffes as a candidate but remains in the top tier because of his significant support from black voters. His other primary rivals have struggled to court black voters or erode Biden’s support with the most loyal and consistent constituency in the Democratic Party.

Former U.S. Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden reacts as he is introduced by Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms during an assembly of Southern black mayors Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019 in Atlanta. (John Amis / AP Photo)

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