Key South Carolina Democrat Clyburn endorses Clinton for president

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Jim Clyburn To Endorse Clinton

(Reuters) - U.S. Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina backed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination on Friday, giving her campaign a vital boost from the state's most influential black politician ahead of next week's primary.

Clyburn's endorsement comes as Clinton battles rival Bernie Sanders for the support of blacks in the South Carolina contest on Feb. 27, when more than half of the voters are likely to be black.

SEE ALSO: Here's who has the best chance at being our next president

Polls show Clinton with a solid double-digit lead in South Carolina, fueled by strong African-American support. Clyburn's backing could help solidify that lead.

"Campaigns are and should be about the future, and I believe that the future of the Democratic Party and the United States of America will be best served with the experience and know-how of Hillary Clinton as our 45th president," Clyburn said at a news conference in South Carolina.

See photos of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at Thursday's Las Vegas town hall

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Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at Las Vegas town hall
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Key South Carolina Democrat Clyburn endorses Clinton for president
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during in a televised town hall meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas on February 18, 2016. The town hall discussion focused on issues affecting Nevada and the Latino Community was held just two days before Nevadas First in the West presidential caucus on Saturday, February 20, 2016. / AFP / JOHN GURZINSKI (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
MSNBC - ELECTION COVERAGE -- MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall -- Pictured: Fmr. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears during the 'MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall' on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the KMA Event Center in Las Vegas -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MSNBC - ELECTION COVERAGE -- MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall -- Pictured: Chuck Todd appears during the 'MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall' on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the KMA Event Center in Las Vegas -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during in a televised town hall meeting with Hillary Clinton at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas on February 18, 2016. The town hall discussion focused on issues affecting Nevada and the Latino Community was held just two days before Nevadas First in the West presidential caucus on Saturday, February 20, 2016. / AFP / JOHN GURZINSKI (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during in a televised town hall meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas on February 18, 2016. The town hall discussion focused on issues affecting Nevada and the Latino Community was held just two days before Nevadas First in the West presidential caucus on Saturday, February 20, 2016. / AFP / JOHN GURZINSKI (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
MSNBC - ELECTION COVERAGE -- MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall -- Pictured: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders appears during the 'MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall' on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the KMA Event Center in Las Vegas -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during in a televised town hall meeting with Hillary Clinton at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas on February 18, 2016. The town hall discussion focused on issues affecting Nevada and the Latino Community was held just two days before Nevadas First in the West presidential caucus on Saturday, February 20, 2016. / AFP / JOHN GURZINSKI (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
MSNBC - ELECTION COVERAGE -- MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall -- Pictured: Fmr. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears during the 'MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall' on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the KMA Event Center in Las Vegas -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during in a televised town hall meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas on February 18, 2016. The town hall discussion focused on issues affecting Nevada and the Latino Community was held just two days before Nevadas First in the West presidential caucus on Saturday, February 20, 2016. / AFP / JOHN GURZINSKI (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
MSNBC - ELECTION COVERAGE -- MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall -- Pictured: Fmr. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears during the 'MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall' on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the KMA Event Center in Las Vegas -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MSNBC - ELECTION COVERAGE -- MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall -- Pictured: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders appears during the 'MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall' on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the KMA Event Center in Las Vegas -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during in a televised town hall meeting with Hillary Clinton at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas on February 18, 2016. The town hall discussion focused on issues affecting Nevada and the Latino Community was held just two days before Nevadas First in the West presidential caucus on Saturday, February 20, 2016. / AFP / JOHN GURZINSKI (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during in a televised town hall meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas on February 18, 2016. The town hall discussion focused on issues affecting Nevada and the Latino Community was held just two days before Nevadas First in the West presidential caucus on Saturday, February 20, 2016. / AFP / JOHN GURZINSKI (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
MSNBC - ELECTION COVERAGE -- MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall -- Pictured: José Díaz-Balart appears during the 'MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall' on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the KMA Event Center in Las Vegas -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MSNBC - ELECTION COVERAGE -- MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall -- Pictured: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders appears during the 'MSNBC and Telemundo Clinton-Sanders Town Hall' on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the KMA Event Center in Las Vegas -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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Clyburn, the No. 3 ranked Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives and the only Democrat in Congress from South Carolina, stayed neutral in the bitter 2008 race between Clinton and Barack Obama.

But he said he decided to get involved this time because Clinton was well positioned to tackle many of the challenges facing minorities and the country.

"Hillary Clinton is a fighter, and that's what we need for our next president," Clyburn said.

Clinton and Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, have been courting support from black civil rights leaders and voters as the Democratic race has moved on from mostly white Iowa, where Clinton narrowly won, and New Hampshire, where Sanders routed Clinton.


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