S.C. lawmaker shifts support to Sanders (copy)

Rep. Justin Bamberg (center) announces his endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders during a press conference Monday in Columbia. File.

Rep. Justin Bamberg, a 30-year-old Democrat whose district comprises Bamberg, Barnwell and Colleton counties, said Sunday that he is exploring the possibility of jumping into the 2018 gubernatorial race.

A tweet from Bamberg, who was first elected in 2014, in the early morning hours Sunday was among the first public indications that he was considering running against Republican incumbent Henry McMaster, who replaced then-Gov. Nikki Haley this year after she was tapped to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

"Says no politician who actually gives a damn about the well-being of his/her citizens, State, or society... Maybe I should challenge him SC," Bamberg said in reply to the governor, who tweeted his support for President Trump in light of the deadly Charlottesville protests.

Bamberg said in an interview Sunday that, while he's considering a run for governor, he's still planning to seek re-election to his House seat.

"I love my House district. I love the people here," Bamberg said. "I love my home area. We still have a lot of work here."

In South Carolina, anyone may run for two offices simultaneously. If they win both, however, the candidate decides which office to assume.

If Bamberg settles his sights on a gubernatorial run, he'd join a growing field of Republican contenders. So far, no Democrats have officially announced a bid to claim the Governor's Mansion. 

Bamberg, who's also an attorney, rose to prominence in the past two years as a member of the legal team that represented the families of Alton Sterling and Walter Scott.

Garnering national attention, both were high-profile cases in which black men were shot and killed by police officers. Scott lived in North Charleston.

"I've still been having some discussions with some folks," he said. "I have not made my mind up. Of course, the very first step is to explore."

Reach Michael Majchrowicz at 843-607-1052. Follow him on Twitter @mjmajchrowicz.

Michael Majchrowicz is a reporter covering crime and public safety. He previously wrote about courts for the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts. A Hoosier native, he graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.