Presidential endorsements of note in South Carolina today

A young Bernie Sanders supporter Staff photo by Maayan Schechter

With under a week until the South Carolina primary season starts for real, here are some of Thursday’s developments:

Harpootlian for Sanders

Former S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian endorsed Bernie Sanders for president.

The move is considered significant in that Harpootlian was an early supporter of Barack Obama, has fund-raising skills, and is one of the more politically loose tongues in state politics.

“You sort of say, ‘Well, can he do it?’” Harpootlian said of Sanders to CNN. “It’s like 2007, when I met Barack Obama fully intending to support Hillary Clinton. And after a half hour with him he convinced me, not convinced me so much as I saw a passion in him.”

Harpootlian previously was a supporter of Joe Biden on the Democratic side.

Ben Jealous, former head of the NAACP, is also endorsing Sanders.

Boyd Brown switches from O’Malley to Clinton

Former state Rep. Boyd Brown, a super-delegate in the selection process, is endorsing Hillary Clinton after his choice, Martin O’Malley, dropped out following a poor showing in Iowa.

Boyd’s switch came after President Bill Clinton stumped for his wife and Democratic front-runner in Columbia on Wednesday.

“Over the last few days, I’ve had the chance to speak with both campaigns and decide which candidate would best represent the needs of South Carolina,” he said. “After consideration, it’s clear that Secretary Clinton is the only candidate in the field with a realistic economic plan for my generation. Her vision and ideas for the future aren’t built on false hope and day dreams, but on pragmatic solutions.”

Boyd earlier said he couldn’t back Bernie Sanders because of his socialist stance. He also had raised questions about Clinton because of what he called her lack of “core values,” he told The Associated Press.

Democratic super delegates can support the candidate of their choice at the party’s national convention, regardless of whom voters choose in primaries and caucuses.

Olympic skater Kwan for Clinton

Two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan is stuming for Hillary Clinton today with College Democrats at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business in Columbia. The campaign says Kwan is going to speak with them about Clinton’s record and her plans to continue President Barack Obama’s achievements.

Kwan is a five-time world champion, nine-time U.S. champ and double Olympic medalist.

Jeb Bush rolls out Sportsmen Coalition

The Bush campaign released a list of supporter names to promote his backing for hunters, fishermen and 2nd Amendment advocates.

The national list includes three bass fishing legends: Bill Dance, Jimmy Houston, and Roland Martin.

One of the South Carolina supporters is John Frampton, former executive director of the SC Department of Natural Resources and President and CEO of the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports.

Wire sources contributed