South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn endorses Joe Biden ahead of primary

Rep. James Clyburn, the House Majority Whip and a key South Carolina voice, has endorsed Joe Biden as his pick for 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African American in Congress and an influential figure in South Carolina politics, endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Clyburn’s endorsement comes ahead of Saturday’s South Carolina primary, where Biden needs a win in order to keep his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination alive.

“I know Joe Biden. I know his character, his heart, and his record. Joe Biden has stood for the hard-working people of South Carolina. We know Joe. But more importantly, he knows us,” Clyburn tweeted ahead of a news conference about his endorsement. “In South Carolina, we choose presidents. I’m calling on you to stand with @JoeBiden.”

The endorsement was no surprise, but it was still an important one for Biden. His support among black voters in South Carolina — and, Biden hopes, across the South, where several other states are among the 14 that vote three days later on Super Tuesday — is his most campaign’s most important asset. Biden has called South Carolina his “firewall.”

Biden heaped praise on Clyburn earlier Wednesday morning at a speech at a National Action Network breakfast hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton. He credited Clyburn with helping the Obama administration enact the federal stimulus package and the Affordable Care Act.

This story is breaking and will be updated.