- 25 января 2016, 19:27
- POLITICO. Top Stories
South Carolina state Rep. Justin T. Bamberg — the lawyer for the family of Walter Scott, who was killed by a police officer last April — endorsed Bernie Sanders Monday, after initially throwing his support behind Hillary Clinton in December.
in a press conference Bamberg said until now he had not given Sanders "his fair shake” but he now fully supports the Vermont senator.
"Bernie represents bold new leadership and is not afraid to challenge the status quo," Bamberg said. The state representative also addressed criticism Sanders has received about his goals being unattainable.
"We live in the greatest country on earth…we put man on the moon, don’t tell me that we cannot provide Americans the right, the right to health care because that right is a matter of life and death for many Americans," Bamberg said. He added Sanders was also capable of accomplishing free higher education and creating a change in the political system.
"Don’t tell me that Sen. Bernie Sanders cannot become president of the United States of America," Bamberg added.
Later Monday in an interview with CNN he said health care was a big factor in his decision to switch support. “I live in a rural, poor part of the state of South Carolina, health care is a matter of life and death for many Americans," he said.
The endorsement is a boon for Sanders, who was previously the focus of protests from the Black Lives Matter movement, which criticized the Vermont senator for not heavily emphasizing concerns about institutional racism.
The S.C. representative earlier described his shift in thinking to The New York 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,” 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 told the Times that he did not know enough about Sanders when he initially endorsed Clinton and changed his mind after the two had a conversation about Scott's death.
“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 said. “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.”
During the press conference, Sanders' campaign also expressed optimism about South Carolina, where the former secretary of state is up 33 percentage points according to the RealClearPolitics average. That number has decreased from June when Clinton was up an average of 55 percentage points.
The campaign also announced a statewide media buy in all the major markets.