Hillary lands big SC endorsement

Hillary Clinton, James Clyburn, South Carolina
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Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Friday endorsed Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonFinal numbers show record-setting viewership for debate Giuliani: Trump was right about 'stop-and-frisk' Poll: Nearly 40 percent of Trump backers say minorities have too much influence 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.”

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“That was not the case at all. My heart has always been with Hillary Clinton,” he continued.

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 SandersDemocrats target Libertarian ticket Senate Dems: Don't leave for break without Supreme Court vote Sanders: Young voters will 'come on board' Clinton's campaign 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. ButterfieldBlack Caucus demands Flint funding from GOP GOP leadership critic finds way around alleged retribution Black Dems rip Trump as 'racial arsonist' over 'birther' controversy 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.