The second most powerful Democrat in the Georgia State Senate on Tuesday switched his endorsement from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders. The announcement from Sen. Vincent Fort came as Sanders worked to shore up his support among minority voters in the South, a voting bloc among which Clinton holds an electoral advantage over the Vermont senator.
“After months of looking at Bernie’s record and studying his positions on healthcare, Wall Street, predatory lending and the minimum wage, I came to the conclusion that Bernie’s position on the issues that affect my constituents in Georgia the most conform most closely to my positions,” Fort told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The African American lawmaker, who represents Fulton County and parts of Atlanta, said that Sanders is "speaking to the issues that are the most critical" to his constituents. “He’s going to do well here," Fort added. "As people study and listen to him, I think there’s going to be movement toward his campaign."
Sanders and Clinton will face off on March 1 in Georgia's Democratic primary. Recent polls indicate that Clinton leads in the state by more than 40 percentage points among likely Democratic voters.
The endorsement was made just hours before Sanders is scheduled to hold a rally Tuesday night at Morehouse College, one of the nation's most distinguished and historically black colleges.
But as Sanders seeks to win over young black voters at Morehouse, Clinton is also mobilizing her young minority supporters. On a recent organizing call with black civic leaders, Clinton featured Tyra Beaman, a student at Spelman College, the equally prestigious Atlanta women's college.
Beaman, a member of Spelman College Students for Hillary, told participants that the former Secretary of State "is dedicated to ensuring that women are empowered and that we have the opportunities to move throughout our lives without these issues of inequity."
"We’re ready for a woman to be president,” she said.