- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2016

Eight days before the crucial South Carolina primary, Hillary Clinton on Friday nabbed the endorsement of the state’s most prominent Democrat, giving her campaign a much-needed boost and potentially helping to hold off a surging Sen. Bernard Sanders.

Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the House and an influential figure in the state, especially among African-American voters, said Friday that he thought long and hard about whether to come out in support of Mrs. Clinton.

“My heart has always been with Hillary Clinton, but my head had me in a neutral corner,” he said at a news conference held at Allen University, a historically black college in the state capitol of Columbia. Mrs. Clinton was not in attendance.

“Campaigns are and should be about the future,” he continued. “And I believe the future of the Democratic party and the United States of America will be best served with the experiences and know-how of Hillary Clinton as our 45th president.”

Mr. Clyburn added that he’s known Mr. Sanders, Vermont Democrat, for many years and has found him to be an “enjoyable” colleague.

His endorsement comes at a critical time for Mrs. Clinton, who hopes to use the Feb. 27 South Carolina primary to blunt Mr. Sanders‘ momentum. Mrs. Clinton currently holds a 24-point lead over Mr. Sanders, according to a Real Clear Politics average of all polls.

The race in Nevada, which holds its caucuses Saturday, is much closer; polls show Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders neck and neck.

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