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Georgia Senate: Warnock wins Clyburn’s endorsement

Rep. James Clyburn, D-SC, speaks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Rep. James Clyburn, D-SC, speaks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the highest-ranking Black member of Congress, endorsed the Senate campaign of Raphael Warnock on Monday and joined a string of party leaders who back the reverend’s bid.

Clyburn called Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, a “man of strong conviction and deep character” who has long fought for affordable healthcare, expanded voting rights and an overhaul to the criminal justice system.

“Now he is taking that fight to Washington,” said Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat. He added: “In these times, the Senate could use a pastor. Reverend Warnock can and will seize the moment.”

Warnock is racing to solidify himself as the Democratic frontrunner in the November special election against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican former financial executive appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to the job in December.

The first-time candidate is one of 20 contenders challenging Loeffler in the contest, a free-for-all with no party primary to filter out nominees.

062320 Atlanta: Rev. Raphael G. Warnock delivers the eulogy for Rayshard Brooks at his funeral in Ebenezer Baptist Church on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 in Atlanta. Brooks, 27, died June 12 after being shot by an officer in a Wendy’s parking lot. Brooks’ death sparked protests in Atlanta and around the country. Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer, said “Rayshard Brooks wasn’t just running from the police. He was running from a system that makes slaves out of people. A system that doesn’t give ordinary people who’ve made mistakes a second chance, a real shot at redemption.”   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
062320 Atlanta: Rev. Raphael G. Warnock delivers the eulogy for Rayshard Brooks at his funeral in Ebenezer Baptist Church on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 in Atlanta. Brooks, 27, died June 12 after being shot by an officer in a Wendy’s parking lot. Brooks’ death sparked protests in Atlanta and around the country. Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer, said “Rayshard Brooks wasn’t just running from the police. He was running from a system that makes slaves out of people. A system that doesn’t give ordinary people who’ve made mistakes a second chance, a real shot at redemption.” Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins is the most formidable Republican challenger in the group, while other Democrats include Matt Lieberman, an educator and son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman, and Ed Tarver, a former federal prosecutor.

Warnock has the support of the political arm of Senate Democrats, several former presidential candidates in the chamber and other national figures. He also has the backing of Stacey Abrams, the 2018 gubernatorial contender, and dozens of local elected officials.

Clyburn, the House majority whip, help pave the way for Joe Biden’s runaway victory in South Carolina with his endorsement of the former vice president. He’s played an influential voice in Biden’s campaign since then, and his support is coveted by Democratic office-seekers.

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