Five distinguished South Carolina Democrats, including one of its longest-serving black lawmakers, are throwing their support behind the presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris—providing an early push to the former state attorney general in a critical early-voting state.
According to the Associated Press, the list includes a trio of black legislators: State Sen. Darrell Jackson of Hopkins and state Reps. JA Moore of Goose Creek and Pat Henegan of Bennettsville. Berkeley County Democratic Party chairwoman Melissa Watson and former gubernatorial candidate Marguerite Willis round out her early endorsements from the Palmetto State.
All five will become co-chairs of Harris’ campaign, and each of them cited her recently announced plan to modernize teacher salaries as a key factor in their decision to back her candidacy over other candidates in the crowded Democratic primary field. Additionally, the diversity in age (their ages range from 34 to 71), geography (the lawmakers represent central and eastern regions), and ethnicity of these supporters demonstrates her ability to appeal to a wide base.
The Post and Courier noted how Jackson’s endorsement especially, considering his prominent status as both the state’s longest-serving black senator and senior pastor at Bible Way Church of Atlas Road, could prove invaluable to her campaign and serve as an important role in the upcoming South Carolina elections.
“Her plan specifically addresses the needs of teachers working in economically disenfranchised schools where kids need increased support and attention,” Jackson said. “I’m proud to stand by her as we fight to make sure every child receives an education that can set them on the path to achieving the American dream.”
Moore’s reasoning for supporting Harris’ campaign is much more personal. He considers himself an ardent supporter of her progressive policies, but his wife is pregnant with their daughter and hopes that Harris can serve as a role model for young black women.
“I want my little girl to grow up knowing she can be president or anything she wants to be,” said Moore, who won his House seat in an upset victory over a Republican incumbent last year. “I wanted her to have an example of a person who works hard, who is strong, who is principled and who is a fighter.”
But it’s Moore, a small-business owner who lost his sister in the 2015 Charleston shooting massacre, who kept it short and sweet.
“She has a record of standing up to bullies,” he said, denoting her as the candidate best equipped to dethrone Trump.