Hoping to prove to the South Carolina Democratic primary electorate that Joe Biden is still viable heading into the state’s presidential primary Saturday ahead of Super Tuesday, the former vice president’s campaign on Sunday rolled out nearly a dozen new Orangeburg County endorsements that include two state senators and the party’s chairman.
Democratic state Sens. Brad Hutto and John Matthews — the longest-serving African-American lawmaker in the General Assembly — and Orangeburg County Democratic Party chairman Kenneth Glover are among 11 new names who are backing Biden’s 2020 bid.
Other names include former party chairwoman Betty Henderson, Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler and other elected officials.
Biden’s campaign says those endorsements now make 180 in the state, home to the country’s “First in the South” presidential primary.
More than 86,000 people live in Orangeburg County — home to the state’s only four-year, public historically black college, S.C. State University, and private black college Clafin University. More than 60% of Orangeburg’s population are African American.
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On Saturday, Biden came in second to national frontrunner U.S. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Nevada caucuses after trailing behind other candidates in the first two early-voting contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. Biden’s most loyal supporters say he has to win South Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary on Saturday in order to be viable in Super Tuesday states that are delegate rich.
In a statement, Henderson said Biden is the candidate to unite the country and step into the Oval Office on the first day to “undo the damage (President Donald) Trump has done.”
“Joe has a bold vision that will not only restore our standing in the world, but make substantial progress on the issues that matter most to South Carolinians, like building on Obamacare and boosting access to health care in rural communities,” Henderson said.
Biden returned to South Carolina on Sunday, attending church in North Charleston.
He’ll join other candidates in Charleston on Tuesday for the February’s final primary debate.