Booker gains first endorsement from state lawmaker in South Carolina

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Booker: Barr's suggestion of spying on Trump campaign 'eroded' public's trust MORE (D-N.J.) earned the first presidential endorsement from a sitting lawmaker in South Carolina, a state seen as crucial in the Democratic Party’s nomination contest.

The Booker campaign shared an article from The Associated Press that first reported state Rep. John King’s (D) endorsement of the New Jersey Democrat.

King told the AP he thought Booker’s experience fighting corruption in Newark, N.J., as mayor could translate well to tackling corruption at the federal level as president.

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“He has spent his entire career running toward big challenges, so I sat long and hard and thought about who I wanted to support and who I feel would take this country in the right direction,” King said. “Cory Booker is that guy.”

“He’s Cory. He doesn’t care about a title,” he added. “He wants people to know he’s reachable, touchable and that he understands our struggles.”

King is currently in his sixth term in the South Carolina state House and is a former chairman of its Legislative Black Caucus.

Booker thanked King for his endorsement.

“Thank you, @RepJohnRCKing, for your leadership in South Carolina and for having faith in me. Your activism on so many issues—education, investment in rural communities—inspires. We’re lucky to have you on the team!” Booker tweeted.

Booker will hold two events Saturday in South Carolina, marking his third trip to the Palmetto State since announcing his presidential campaign. He will appear in Columbia and Rock Hill, which is located in King’s district and where King is expected to join Booker. 

South Carolina holds the nation’s first presidential primary in the South, and Democratic candidates have clamored to gain the support of the state’s predominantly African-American primary electorate.