Joe Biden earns coveted endorsement from 'South Carolina kingmaker' Jim Clyburn

'I know Joe, we know Joe, but most importantly Joe knows us'

Clark Mindock
New York
Wednesday 26 February 2020 16:37 GMT

Joe Biden has earned the endorsement of South Carolina congressman Jim Clyburn, bolstering the fomer vice president's prospects just days before the state's Democratic primary voters head to the polls.

Mr Clyburn is the majority whip in the House of Representatives, the state's most influential Democrat and the highest-ranking black member of Congress.

His support could prove invaluable for Mr Biden, who has faced middling support in the Democratic primary race so-far and is hoping for a strong performance in South Carolina, where he has counted on support from black voters. Mr Clyburn, according to South Carolina's Post and Courier has been known among some poltiical observers as South Carolina Deomcrats's "kingmaker".

"I know Joe, we know Joe, but most importantly Joe knows us," Mr Clyburn told reporters in North Charleston on Wednesday, with Mr Biden and other top supporters nearby.

Mr Clyburn also noted in an emotional moment that his late wife, Emily, who died just months ago, loved Mr Biden more than any other political leader and spoke highly of him and often.

When it comes to Donald Trump, Mr Clyburn said he has never been more fearful for the US, and said Mr Biden is the Democrat who can "restore the countrys dignity and respect".

South Carolina is largely viewed a make or break moment for Mr Biden, and what is likely his final run for the presidency.

After relatively meek showings in the first three states to vote — Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa — he is relying on black voters in the state to throw their support behind him. A strong first-place showing in the state could solidfy him as the moderate Democrats' alternative to Bernie Sanders, who is leading the race nationally.

Over the past year, in part due to his strong ties to the state, Mr Biden has led in polls there, even as Mr Sanders and Tom Steyer have closed that gap in recent months. Mr Steyer, in particular, has been seen to be pulling African American voter support from Mr Biden in the state.

A win in South Carolina would likely give Mr Biden some important momentum as Democrats head into next week's Super Tuesday contests, when 14 states will hold primaries across teh country.

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