Kamala Harris set to roll out five South Carolina endorsements

Hunter Walker
White House Correspondent


Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris takes the stage for a rally at Texas Southern University in Houston on March 23, 2019. (Photo: Loren Elliott/Reuters)

California Sen. Kamala Harris has lined up a handful of early endorsements for her presidential campaign in the early primary state of South Carolina.

A source familiar with the plans told Yahoo News that Harris’s campaign is set to announce five endorsements from a mix of local elected officials and Democratic Party leaders. According to the source, some of the endorsers will serve as co-chairs of Harris’s campaign in the state. The Harris campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

South Carolina is the fourth state on the primary calendar, and local endorsements in the state are highly sought after. However, with a crowded field of 15 leading Democratic candidates competing for the party’s presidential nomination, most officials in the state have stayed on the sidelines so far. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker announced the first endorsement from a South Carolina lawmaker, state Rep. John King, last week.

The source told Yahoo News Harris scored the endorsement of one state senator, Darrell Jackson, who is also the senior pastor of Bible Way Church of Atlas Road. She also won the backing of two state representatives, Pat Henegan and JA Moore.

Henegan, who, like Harris, is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, was elected in 2014. Moore, whose sister was killed in the 2015 Charleston church shooting, was elected last year after beating an incumbent with endorsements from two other Democratic presidential candidates, Booker and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro. Berkeley County Democratic Party Chairwoman Melissa Watson and Marguerite Willis, who was a candidate for governor last year, round out the list of endorsements that Harris is poised to announce. Jackson, Henegan, Moore and Willis did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Watson, who is a teacher, told Yahoo News that she felt it was “important to endorse early” and said she was particularly impressed by Harris’s plan to raise teacher salaries, which the candidate unveiled last weekend. She also cited Harris’s experience as a district attorney and attorney general. Watson said Harris and her campaign reached out to her after a local news channel aired a story about her and other teachers who were moonlighting as servers at a restaurant in order to make ends meet. Harris shared the story on Twitter a few days after it was broadcast last December and said Watson “represents the struggle many of our teachers face … with strength and dignity.”

“I was impressed that she cared enough to reach out to a teacher,” Watson said of Harris.

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