Hillary Clinton collects South Carolina endorsements

Story highlights

  • Hillary Clinton announced support from South Carolina leaders in a conference call Friday
  • Among new supporters: Rep. James Smith, a big Joe Biden supporter

(CNN)Hillary Clinton collected several high profile endorsements in South Carolina with less than three months to go before that state holds a crucial primary.

Democratic members from the state's General Assembly announced their backing of Clinton's candidacy on a conference call with the media.
Rep. Justin Bamberg said he supports Clinton because of her plan for reforming the criminal justice system and bridging strained relationships between law enforcement and communities. Bamberg, who represents the family of Walter Scott, spoke from personal experience about "being involved in police brutality incidents on the forefront."
    "I believe that President Clinton, I say President because I believe she will be the next president of the U.S., can effectively tackle these issues," Bamberg said.
    Rep. James Smith, a big Vice President Joe Biden supporter during the summer months, also endorsed Clinton on the call, pointing to her strategy to defeat ISIS as the reason why he thinks she's the most viable candidate. Biden said this fall he would not run for president.
    "Our next President must stand ready and have a vision to address the significant threats of ISIS and global terrorism to keep our country safe. Especially in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks, it's clear that Hillary is uniquely qualified to serve as our next Commander-in-Chief," said Smith, who is a veteran and served in Afghanistan.
    State senator John Matthews, the longest serving African American in the assembly, and senator Margie Bright-Matthews, the only African-American female sentator in the assembly, also backed the former secretary of state.
    Clinton's campaign has already secured weighty endorsements in the state including former Gov. Jim Hodges and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.