MENU

Leading SC Democrat Jim Clyburn to endorse presidential candidate Wednesday

DEM 2016 Clinton Clyb_Leak.jpg
FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2015 file photo Assistant House Minority Leader James Clyburn speaks at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. Clyburn is endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, smoothing over a rift from eight years ago. Clyburn's endorsement came as a surprise since he has said he wouldn't back a candidate based on orders from the Democratic National Committee. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford, File)

WASHINGTON (WCIV) - A very important endorsement is coming days ahead of the South Carolina Democratic Primary.

Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) told ABC News on Sunday he'll announce Wednesday which presidential candidate he's supporting.

Clyburn says he's known for a while, but promised the Democratic National Committee to wait until after Tuesday’s Democratic debate in Charleston, hosted by CBS News.

"I'm going to honor this debate,” Clyburn told ABC on Sunday. “I don't want to distract from it at all. I want to maintain our first-in-the-South primary status, but on Wednesday morning, I will let my choice be known. I've been asked about it by too many people, and I think I would be dishonorable if I didn't tell people exactly what I feel about the candidacy."

Clyburn went on to acknowledge Bernie Sanders as the current 2020 Democratic frontrunner after winning Nevada and performing strongly in New Hampshire and Iowa.

But, Clyburn parsed this with doubt that Sanders could win South Carolina, saying it would be tough to make the case in the Palmetto State for "a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.”

Meanwhile, Clyburn says he feels former Vice President Joe Biden will capture more key votes from African Americans than any other Democrat, and is poised to perform strongly in South Carolina after poor showings previously.

Many speculate it will be Biden to get Clyburn’s endorsement, but Clyburn hasn't said that, and Biden stayed mum on the topic Sunday after speaking to the congregation at Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston.

“I'm not counting on anything,” Biden told the Associated Press outside the church, adding that he feels Clyburn’s endorsement will be a “big deal” for whoever receives it.

Biden did reveal he’d spoken to Clyburn within the last week, and says Clyburn encouraged him to work hard in South Carolina, under the strong belief he could do well in the Palmetto State.

Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, is the third-ranking member of Congress. He currently is serving his 14th term representing a major chunk of South Carolina that lies between Charleston and Columbia.

Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren will take the stage for Tuesday night's debate.

(This report features information compiled from ABC, CNN and the Associated Press.)