The Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (PAC) announced today (February 11) that it is officially endorsing Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic party’s nominee for the presidency. The PAC is widely understood to function as the Caucus’ political arm.
The endorsement comes just two days after Clinton’s loss to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. Both candidates have been working to court support within communities of color as they compete in this election cycle’s primary contests. Clinton has been more successful than Sanders in getting support from Black politicians. The Washington Post reports that several Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members will campaign on Clinton’s behalf in South Carolina in the coming two weeks before that state’s primary. Of the PAC’s 19 members, 17 cast their private votes for Clinton. The remaining two abstained.
"When we needed someone to rally Democrats, and especially African Americans, Hillary Clinton has been there. When there are issues that were important to our constituents, Hillary Clinton has been there," said Rep. Gregory Meeks, the PAC’s chairman, during a press conference today. "She’s been our partner long-term. We believe she’s made a difference, and she has helped us and helped this country by helping elect Democrats across the board."
"We must have a president who understands the racial divide, not someone who just acquired the knowledge recently," explained CBC chairman Rep. G.K. Butterfield during the press conference.
Despite the endorsement, not all members of the CBC share the opinion of the PAC. Rep. Keith Ellison, who backs Bernie Sanders, tweeted today that the PAC’s vote does not equal a CBC endorsement. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s influential Rep. James Clyburn has yet to announce his endorsement. "We’ll be meeting with family and friends this weekend when I get down to South Carolina and I’ll make some decision after that," he said during an MSNBC appearance.