Arguing that Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton “embodies establishment politics,” the lawyer for the family of Walter Scott – an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot by police in South Carolina – has switched his support to Bernie Sanders, according to The New York Times.
The move by the attorney and State Representative Justin T. Bamberg of South Carolina comes as Clinton and Sanders battle it out in polls of early states.
One week before the all-important Iowa Caucuses, Sanders has taken a one-point lead over Clinton, putting him in a position to win there and in New Hampshire, where he is ahead of Clinton by a wide margin, according to CBS News.
Both candidates are locked in a heated contest to win Black voters, who helped propel President Barack Obama into office in both elections. Bamberg’s official endorsement could help Sanders gain a slight edge as he tries to win more support from Black voters in early elections in southern states, including in South Carolina, where Clinton dominates. The southern primaries follow Iowa and New Hampshire.
From The Times:
“Hillary Clinton is more a representation of the status quo when I think about politics or about what it means to be a Democrat,” said Mr. Bamberg, who initially endorsed Mrs. Clinton in December. “Bernie Sanders on the other hand is bold. He doesn’t think like everyone else. He is not afraid to call things as they are.”
In April in North Charleston, a police officer, Michael T. Slager, fatally shot Mr. Scott, 50, as he ran from the officer. Video of the shooting went viral and a grand jury in June indicted Mr. Slager on a murder charge.
Mr. Bamberg represents Mr. Scott’s four children, two brothers, as well as his mother and father. The lawmaker said the family has not endorsed a presidential candidate, but Mr. Bamberg said he has spoken with several other South Carolina lawmakers about possibly supporting Mr. Sanders.
Symone Sanders, a spokeswoman for Sanders’ campaign, told The Times they hope to “enlist the help of Mr. Bamberg to make their case to voters to coalesce around the Vermont senator.”
Clinton’s campaign did not immediately respond to Bamberg’s announcement, notes The Times. But she has garnered important endorsements from Black supporters throughout the campaign, including the families of other slain unarmed Black men, such as Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr.
Most recently, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker threw his support behind Clinton.
From The Washington Post:
As [Booker] spoke, it became clear that his remarks were less an introduction and more a homily, with more than a little biography thrown in. He was at times quiet and reflective, and at other times bellowing at the top of his lungs, leaving the crowd cheering, applauding and shouting in agreement.
“I don’t know about you, but I think we just heard a great sermon,” Clinton said when some 15 minutes had passed and she was handed the microphone.
His appearance in Iowa eight days before the caucuses made him one of a handful of political and progressive figures brought out on the campaign trail to ratchet up the enthusiasm that Clinton’s campaign hopes will help drive her supporters to the polls.
Clinton and Sanders, along with Martin O’Malley, are scheduled to square off Monday night in Iowa at a Democratic town hall debate hosted by the Iowa Democratic Party and Drake University. The event will air on CNN from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will be moderated by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.