South Carolina Democrat Withdraws Support for Hillary Clinton

Walter Scott lawyer endorses Bernie Sanders instead

Hillary Rodham Clinton

A South Carolina lawmaker withdrew his support for Hillary Clinton Monday, instead electing to back Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) for president.

South Carolina state representative Justin Bamberg decided that Sanders unveiled a superior platform to better the lives of individuals living in the South and across the nation, the New York Times reported.

"Hillary Clinton is more a representation of the status quo when I think about politics or about what it means to be a Democrat," Bamberg said. "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."

Bamberg is also the lawyer for the family of Walter Scott, a black South Carolina man who was shot and killed by a white police officer last April. Bamberg had previously endorsed Clinton in December, citing her commitment to criminal justice reform.

However, the Democratic lawmaker said he hadn’t given Sanders a "fair shake" before deciding to back Clinton. Since, he has learned more about the Vermont senator and listened to his campaign speeches, making the decision to change his endorsement after he and Sanders had a conversation about Scott’s death last week.

"What I got from him was not a presidential candidate talking to a state representative, or an old white man talking to a young black guy," Bamberg explained. "What I got from him was a man talking to a man about things that they are passionate about, and that was the tipping point for me."

The development could spell trouble for Clinton, who is trailing Sanders in the key early states of Iowa and New Hampshire despite being widely considered as the likely nominee.

Clinton has 60 percent of the vote among South Carolina Democrats compared to Sanders’s 38 percent, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll released Sunday. However, her lead over the Vermont lawmaker in the state has shrank considerably since Sanders announced his candidacy, according to Real Clear Politics.

Bamberg’s decision to withdraw support from Clinton and his logic for doing so could also indicate that Clinton might be losing support among black voters. This could pose a hurdle for the former secretary of state, as she leads Sanders among black Democrats in the state while Sanders leads Clinton among white Democrats.

Symone Sanders, a spokeswoman for the Sanders campaign, said that Bamberg’s endorsement was a sign that the Clinton campaign’s so-called "firewall" in the South is breaking down.

"The Clinton campaign talks about having this firewall" in the South, the spokeswoman said. "You are starting to see cracks in that firewall."