House majority whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) plans to endorse former vice president Joe Biden before the upcoming South Carolina primary, Politico reported on Monday.
Clyburn is “going to wait until after the debate to give the endorsement,” a Biden campaign adviser said. “He promised the DNC it wouldn’t be before the debate.”
“I will endorse Wednesday morning,” Clyburn said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “I’m going to tell everybody who I’m going to vote for. I’m just not going to do it today.”
Clyburn is the highest-ranking African American in Congress and is viewed as a kingmaker in South Carolina. Biden has long contended that his support among black voters will help him carry the state, where around sixty percent of Democrats are African American.
According to Politico, the endorsement is seen by some Democrats as a last-ditch effort to stop the momentum of Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) following Sanders’s strong showings in all three early state primaries.
“I do believe it will be an extra burden for us to have to carry,” Clyburn said on ABC’s This Week regarding Sanders’s candidacy. “This is South Carolina, and South Carolinians are pretty leery about that title socialist.”
After finishing a close second in the Iowa Caucuses and first in the New Hampshire primary, Sanders has picked up almost 50 percent of the vote in the Nevada Caucuses with 88 percent of precincts reporting. Biden, meanwhile, so far carries 21 percent of the vote in Nevada and came in fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire.