Congressman Jim Clyburn is encouraging Democratic voters to support President Joe Biden in the “historic” presidential primary on Saturday, Feb. 3.

Clyburn, a Santee resident, voted early at the Orangeburg County Administrative Center on Monday. He then held a brief press conference outside in the 35-degree weather.

“This is not a perfect country,” Clyburn said. “It is a great country, in no need of being made great.

Clyburn votes

U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn holds a press conference after casting his vote at the Orangeburg County Administration Center on Monday in the first-in-the-nation Democratic presidential primary.

“What we’ve got to figure out in this country is how to go about the business of making the greatness of the country accessible and affordable to all its citizens. And that’s what Joe Biden has been doing for the last three years, and that is what I’m convinced he will continue to do for the next five years when all is said and done in November.”

Clyburn said the country was “at a crossroads” when Biden won his first term in 2020.

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The country was amid the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school and business closures, and had “leadership that had failed the people of the country,” he said.

“This president has brought us back from all of that,” Clyburn said.

The congressman touted the Biden administration’s legislative accomplishments, including promoting infrastructure and climate change spending.

He highlighted the administration’s efforts to bring computer microchip manufacturing back to the U.S., saying graduates from Orangeburg-area colleges would not have to leave the area for work as he did.

He also mentioned the $35 cap on the price of insulin included in the Inflation Reduction Act, which he said reminded him of the sometimes $800 a month his late wife Emily had to pay.

“We’re doing all that while people are wondering whether or not we’re going to be able to hold onto this democracy that all of us hold so dear,” he said.

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South Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary will be the first in the nation for the 2024 election, ahead of the New Hampshire and Nevada primaries which are traditionally held first. Clyburn called the primary election “historic” for the state and said the Palmetto State’s primary will have “better results” than New Hampshire’s.

Clyburn said he hopes the weather will improve and drive up turnout for this first year of the state leading the nation’s Democratic primaries.

Clyburn said he was not surprised by Republican Ron Desantis’ recent withdrawal from the Republican Party’s presidential race. He did not endorse the idea of any Democratic voters supporting former S.C. governor Nikki Haley in the Republican primary to spite Donald Trump.

Clyburn encouraged voters to support Biden and not repeat the defeats of Democrats Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Hilary Clinton in 2016, which he blamed on low party enthusiasm for those candidates.

“When people stay home, bad things happen,” he said. “You see what it got us. Every time you do that, you yield a bad result that your children and grandchildren will pay for.”

The congressman tied Biden’s candidacy to the civil rights efforts Clyburn was heavily involved in during his time at South Carolina State University.

“We fought to correct those faults,” he said. “Many of them have been corrected, but all of them have not been.

“I’m fighting in this election to continue our trek toward correcting those faults and pursuing a more perfect union and hopefully that my children and grandchildren will not have to refight these battles.”

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5553. Follow on Twitter: @bozardcaleb.

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