WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean endorsed Joe Biden for president on Thursday, joining a wave of officials rallying behind the former vice president after major wins that restored him to front-runner status.

“Today I enthusiastically endorse Joe Biden for president. I admire Joe for his head and his heart. He has the experience, intellect, and passion to draw people together and move our country forward for the many — for us all," Dean, a Montgomery County Democrat, said in a statement to The Inquirer.

"Joe’s empathy, turning personal terrible losses into a greater purpose, is an inspiration to me, and a unifying quality that our country needs to win back the White House — bringing decency, humanity, and leadership to our nation’s highest office,” Dean said two days after Biden racked up Super Tuesday gains that changed the presidential race.

Biden, a Scranton native who has based his campaign in Philadelphia, has won widespread support from Democratic leaders in Pennsylvania. With Dean’s backing, six of the state’s nine Democratic House members have endorsed Biden. The others have not chosen a candidate.

Sens. Bob Casey (a fellow Scrantonian) and Delaware’s Chris Coons and Tom Carper have also backed Biden.

Biden and his allies have argued that he is the candidate best positioned to win back Pennsylvania, a critical swing state, and to help other Democrats running for state, federal and local offices. In competitive suburbs outside Philadelphia, a number of local officials have raised alarms about the possibility of running on the same ticket as Sen. Bernie Sanders, whom some see as too liberal and divisive for moderate swing districts.

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Biden has endorsements from more than 55 Democrats in the House and seven senators.

Among the more recent supporters is Rep. Andy Kim of South Jersey, who endorsed Biden on Wednesday after previously supporting his home-state senator, Cory Booker, and then Pete Buttigieg before each left the race.