House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn endorses Don Davis | The Enterprise
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House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn endorses Don Davis

Posted on May 12, 2022

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State Sen. Don Davis, D-Greene, speaks during The Wilson Times’ 1st Congressional District candidate forum April 13 at Wilson Community College. U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield has endorsed Davis to succeed him in Congress.

Drew C. Wilson | Times file photo

State Sen. Don Davis, D-Greene, speaks during The Wilson Times’ 1st Congressional District candidate forum April 13 at Wilson Community College. U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield has endorsed Davis to succeed him in Congress.

Jim Clyburn

Jim Clyburn

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn threw his support behind state Sen. Don Davis in North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District race on Wednesday, becoming the highest-ranking Democratic elected official to weigh in.

Clyburn, a South Carolina congressman and the current majority whip, boosted Joe Biden with a well-timed endorsement in the 2020 Democratic primaries, leading to his nomination and eventual installation as the country’s 46th president. A civil rights leader whose activism and advocacy earned him a place on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, Clyburn helped sway Black voters, propelling Biden to victory in the South Carolina primary.

The veteran lawmaker hopes to reprise his role as kingmaker in eastern North Carolina as Davis tries to hold off a primary challenge from Erica Smith, a former N.C. Senate member and progressive favorite who earned Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s support.

”I proudly endorse Senator Don Davis to continue the work of Congressman G.K. Butterfield in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Clyburn said in a Wednesday statement. “Don has a long history of fighting for rural communities, supporting affordable health care and prescription drugs and protecting voting rights. I respectfully ask the voters of the First District to send Don Davis to Congress to join us in this fight for our future. The First District is now a toss-up district. Every vote really matters. Please vote Don Davis for Congress.”

Butterfield, who supports Davis as his preferred successor, works closely with Clyburn as his chief deputy majority whip. Clyburn’s embrace could put Davis on the fast track for leadership opportunities if 1st District voters choose to send him to Washington.

RELATED STORY: Butterfield endorses Davis for US House seat 

In a Wednesday statement released by his campaign, Davis said he’s proud to have Clyburn’s backing.

“Whip Clyburn is a steadfast voice for rural America and understands the time is now to empower the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs,” Davis said. “We are fighting to make sure eastern North Carolina gets our fair share — I am honored he is standing with us.”

In addition to Butterfield and Clyburn, the Greene County state senator has received endorsements from the Congressional Black Caucus, VoteVets, the North Carolina Association of Educators, the Democratic Majority for Israel and the AFL-CIO and Communications Workers of America labor unions.

Wilson leaders pledging their support for Davis include Wilson County Commissioner JoAnne Daniels, Wilson City Councilman Derrick Creech, longtime Democratic Party official Dewey Sheffield, the Rev. H. Maurice Barnes and Betty McCain, the former North Carolina secretary of cultural resources.

WILSON TIMES CANDIDATE FORUM: US House hopefuls share vision 

In addition to his statement endorsing Davis, Clyburn lent his name to a Wednesday fundraising email asking supporters to contribute to Davis’ campaign.

“Republicans need to flip just five seats to take back the House, and if they succeed, they plan to do great damage to our communities.” Clyburn wrote. “We can’t let them win the first district.”

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