Hillary Clinton on Friday picked up what may be South Carolina’s most coveted endorsement when the state’s only Democratic congressman threw his support behind her campaign.
US Rep. Jim Clyburn endorsed Clinton during an appearance at Allen University on Friday morning. Clyburn has represented central South Carolina for 22 years and is the third-ranking Democratic member of the US House.
“My heart had always been with (her), but my head told me to stay neutral.” Says today he will “terminate my neutrality,” Clyburn said.
Clyburn’s vote is seen as critical towards winning support among older African-American residents, who make up a majority of Democratic voters in South Carolina.
He had refrained from endorsing Clinton when she first ran for the White House in 2008, choosing to stay publicly neutral while she and then-US Sen. Barack Obama campaigned through South Carolina. Clyburn said at the time he had stayed neutral as a condition for South Carolina’s primary being held early in the process.
Clyburn said he stayed neutral in 2008, and didn’t commit until late this year because he didn’t want to endanger South Carolina’s status as an early primary state.