Mar 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Clyburn says Sanders didn't aggressively seek his endorsement

In this image, Clyburn stands behind Biden. Biden stands at a podium.

Biden with Rep. Jim Clyburn, Feb. 29. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking black member of Congress, told The Daily Beast Wednesday that Sen. Bernie Sanders did not make specific efforts to court his endorsement for the 2020 presidential race.

Why it matters: Clyburn's endorsement of Biden ahead of the South Carolina primary has been viewed as a major factor in reviving the former vice president's struggling campaign, propelling him to sweeping victories in South Carolina and across the South on Super Tuesday.

  • 61% of voters in South Carolina said that Clyburn endorsing Biden was an important part of their decision. 27% said that endorsement was "the most important factor."
  • 61% of black voters in South Carolina threw their support behind Biden in the state's primary, while only 16% supported Sanders, exit polls by Edison Research show.

What he's saying: “I find it very interesting that someone is referring to African American voters in South Carolina as the establishment,” Clyburn told The Daily Beast, referring to Sanders' claims that the Democratic establishment is coalescing around Biden in order to stop his campaign. “I don’t understand how that vote can be dismissed."

  • "I don't need to be courted," Clyburn added, noting that he "had a lot of conversations with almost every one of the candidates."

The big picture: Biden garnered the most black support among any candidate in Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, California, Alabama and Virginia, according to preliminary exit poll estimates from the New York Times.

Go deeper: Biden reborn with a massive Super Tuesday comeback

Go deeper