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Massachusetts Attorney General and New Hampshire native Maura Healey endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president on Thursday, hours before a critical debate in Houston where Healey plans to speak on Warren's behalf.
Healey, who won a second term as attorney general in 2018 and is frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for governor or the U.S. Senate herself, described Warren as someone "laser focused on how we help families in the state and across the country."
"That is exactly what our country needs right now," Healey wrote in an email to supporters announcing her decision.
Warren was preparing Thursday for the first debate of the primary during which she will be on stage with all of the front-runners, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Healey planned to attend the debate as a guest of Warren's, according to advisers, and would be available to the media at Texas Southern University after the debate to promote Warren's candidacy.
In the email to her list, Healey said she had worked with Warren long before the two became elected officials, when she was a lawyer in the attorney general's office and Warren was a Harvard University law professor and consumer advocate.
"Elizabeth was instrumental in helping us navigate how to stop foreclosure and keep families in their homes," Healey wrote.
When Healey was chief of the civil rights division, Warren and Healey worked closely to put together some of the first civil rights claims in the country against banks challenging their lending practices tied to the foreclosure crisis.
"She also knows that you can't just tell people what you're going to do. Real change happens when you have a plan to get it done, and the resolve and strategy to fight for it," Healey wrote.
Four years ago, Healey spent considerable time campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, including an early February pre-primary rally at her alma mater, Winnacunnet High School. Healey grew up in Hampton Falls and starred on the high school basketball team before going on to play at Harvard and professionally in Europe before settling in Massachusetts.
While no additional trips have been set beyond tonight's visit to Houston, a senior Healey advisor said it's expected that the attorney general will be active in New Hampshire this fall.
A Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University poll released last week showed Warren in third place in New Hampshire with 17%, trailing both Sanders at 27% and Biden at 21%.
Support for Warren in her home state has also not been assured.
Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell on Wednesday announced that she would be supporting California Sen. Kamala Harris. Campbell is the first African-American woman to serve as council president.
A Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll taken the first week of September had Warren in a dead heat with Biden, trailing the Delaware Democrat 26% to 24%.
Many Democrats had hoped to see Healey challenge Gov. Charlie Baker for re-election in 2018, but Healey chose to seek re-election herself and easily won a second four-year term. A June Globe/Suffolk poll showed 43% of voters holding a favorable view Healey compared to 19% who had an unfavorable opinion.
Since the 2016 election, Healey has carved out a reputation as a fierce opponent of President Donald Trump, helping to sue the White House dozens of times over everything from the rollback of environmental regulations to Trump's policies on immigration.
Other home state Democrats backing Warren for president include Sen. Edward Markey, Congressman Joseph Kennedy and Senate President Karen Spilka.
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