The nation would be ill-served if Hillary Clinton doesn’t have serious competition for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn said Wednesday in Greenville.
Clyburn, who represents South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District and is the No. 3 Democrat in the U.S. House, was in town for a book signing and unveiling of his portrait at the Global Trade Center.
Clyburn told The Greenville News that he agrees with other Democrats who have said the party should have a vigorous contest to pick its next presidential nominee instead of a “coronation” of Clinton, who is leading in the polls now though she has yet to announce a campaign.
Clinton, a former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, was the favorite presidential candidate for half of 400 S.C. Democrats surveyed in a Clemson University poll released Wednesday. Vice President Joe Biden came in second place with 12 percent.
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Clyburn said he hopes Clinton has real competition for the Democratic nomination if she decides to run. “We are a representative democracy,” he said as he signed copies of his new autobiography. “Nobody should be coronated.”
Clyburn said he doesn’t expect anyone to beat Clinton, but she will be stronger in the general election if she has credible competition in the primary.
He pointed to Mississippi Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, a six-term incumbent who was forced into a runoff Tuesday night by a Tea Party challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
“Thad Cochran is in the shape he’s in because they’ve had coronations for the last several elections rather than a campaign,” Clyburn said. “If he had been out there campaigning for a seat every time, he wouldn’t have gotten caught this way.”
Clyburn’s portrait was produced by Taylors artist Janet Fleming Smith, whose previous clients have included Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Strom Thurmond.