Much of South Carolina’s Democratic establishment has decided to back Horry County lawyer Preston Brittain in the party’s June 12 primary for the state’s new 7th Congressional District seat.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, former Rep. John Spratt, Florence Mayor Steven Wukela, former Gov. Jim Hodges, state Senate Minority Leader John Land of Manning and former gubernatorial candidate Sen. Vince Sheheen of Camden all endorsed Brittain in a Tuesday conference call.

Their move comes days after the Democratic field was shaken up after the arrest in Columbia of Rep. Ted Vick, who was charged with driving under the influence and illegally carrying a gun. Vick exited the race Friday.

Brittain’s endorsers not only are some of the state’s most prominent Democrats, but they also have represented parts of the newly drawn 7th District, which South Carolina received after the 2010 Census.

Speakers emphasized Brittain’s youth (he is 32), his ability to work in a bipartisan way and his commitment to lure projects such as Interstate 73 to the district.

“We’re looking for a candidate who can counter the divisiveness we’ve seen coming out of the extreme right wing in this state,” Sheheen said.

Brittain’s primary opponents include Georgetown economist Gloria Bromell Tinubu and Harry Pavilack and Parnell Diggs, both Myrtle Beach lawyers.

The Republican candidates include Andre Bauer, Chad Prosser, Dick Withington, Jay Jordan, Jim Mader, Katherine Jenerette, Randal Wallace, Renee Culler and Tom Rice.

The district includes all or part of Horry, Georgetown, Dillon, Marion, Florence and Darlington counties.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.