Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Friday endorsed Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonMaher to media: ‘Get serious again’ NH governor: I asked the White House for evidence of voter fraud Report: New national security adviser breaks with Trump on 'radical Islamic terrorism' MORE’s presidential campaign, giving her a boost heading into the South Carolina primary.
“Today, my head and my heart are in the same place,” Clyburn said at a press conference in Columbia, S.C. “A few people speculated my head was with one candidate and my heart with the other.”
Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, originally said he would remain neutral in the race. But after a discussion with his family, the congressman said he decided to throw his support behind Clinton over Bernie SandersBernie SandersDNC chair vote: live coverage Maher to media: ‘Get serious again’ Sanders trolls Trump over claim his rallies would be bigger than protests MORE.
“I have decided to terminate my neutrality and get engaged,” Clyburn said. “I have had the opportunity to work up close and personal with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders."
"My experiences with both have been pleasant and enjoyable, but in spite of how it might sound, sometimes campaigns are and should be about future,” he said, adding that Clinton will be the best candidate to achieve pay equity, affordable healthcare and reform the criminal justice system.
His endorsement gives the former secretary of State a lift in South Carolina, where she holds a double-digit lead over Sanders ahead of the Feb. 27 primary.
South Carolina has a more diverse electorate than Iowa and New Hampshire, and both Democratic candidates have been courting black voters in the state.
Clinton has sought to consolidate support among prominent black Democrats after Sanders’s resounding New Hampshire victory. She has received endorsements from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and Rep. G.K. ButterfieldG.K. ButterfieldFCC defends not fighting legal challenge to prison call rates A guide to the committees: House 40 House Dems to urge Trump to suspend Flynn MORE (D-N.C.), who chairs the CBC.
Some of Clinton’s campaign surrogates have called into question Sanders's commitment to civil rights and criminal justice reform. But Sanders has been making inroads with this voter bloc and has recently landed several high-profile endorsements, including former NAACP president Ben Jealous.