South Carolina’s Representative James Clyburn, known as a kingmaker in the state, told ABC News he will endorse a Democratic presidential candidate on Wednesday morning, after the next debate. An endorsement from Clyburn could help save a candidate’s flagging campaign.
Clyburn gave no indication who he would support, but warned that nominating Bernie Sanders could make it difficult for the Democrats to hold on to competitive House seats that gave them the majority in 2018.
“It’s going to be tough to hold on to these jobs if you have to make the case for a self-proclaimed democratic socialist,” Clyburn said. He said South Carolinians are “leery” of the label “socialist.”
South Carolina’s Feb. 29 primary is widely seen as a must-win for former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s yet to come in first in any primary contest, weakening his claim that he is the one who can beat President Donald Trump.
In a separate NBC interview, Clyburn said Tuesday night’s debate would have a big impact, and that Elizabeth Warren did herself “a lot of good” with her scrappy performance in last week’s debate. “She demonstrated to the viewing public that she has tenacity,” he said.
South Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29. The leading candidates will debate there on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Fourteen states and one U.S. territory will vote on Super Tuesday, March 3.
(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)
— With assistance by Erik Wasson
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