James Clyburn to endorse Hillary Clinton on Friday

U.S. Rep. James Clyburn speaks at the University of South Carolina, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Columbia, S.C. The congressman formally announced the donation of his congressional papers Monday to the university to help establish a new research and education center on civil rights. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat and perhaps the most influential black lawmaker in South Carolina, will endorse Hillary Clinton for president at an event Friday, a Clinton campaign aide confirmed.

The endorsement is a big get for the former Secretary of State, who is leading the polls against Bernie Sanders but needs to secure her support with African-Americans ahead of the Feb. 27 Democratic primary in South Carolina.

Clyburn has been hinting since last week he planned to take a public stance in the primary despite earlier pledges to stay neutral out of respect for the process. He wouldn’t say which way he was leaning, but he suggested his family members — namely his wife, daughters and granddaughters — were urging him toward Clinton.

He will make his endorsement at 11 a.m. at Allen University in Columbia.

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Clyburn’s announcement comes a week after the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee made its endorsement of Clinton at Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Emma Dumain is the Post and Courier’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.