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Gephardt to endorse Kerry, source says

Rep. Dick Gephardt, the former House minority leader whose presidential campaign collapsed in Iowa’s caucuses, will endorse Democratic front-runner John Kerry, a Democratic official said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Rep. Dick Gephardt, the former House minority leader whose presidential campaign collapsed in Iowa’s caucuses, will endorse Democratic front-runner John Kerry, a Democratic official said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Missouri lawmaker will give Kerry his backing in Warren, Mich., a blue-collar suburb of Detroit, on Friday. The endorsement is a huge boost for Kerry who has been aggressively pursuing the backing of labor unions who had thrown their support to Gephardt.

The official also said Gephardt’s endorsement is a signal that Kerry is close to securing the support of some of the labor groups that had endorsed the congressman.

Gephardt dropped out of the race last month after a fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. He said at the time he intended to support the party’s nominee, but said he had no immediate plans to endorse any of the contenders.