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FIRST ON BUZZ: Former U.S. Rep. John Spratt backs Clinton in presidential bid

A prominent former S.C. congressman has endorsed Hillary Clinton in her bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Clinton’s campaign said Tuesday.

Former U.S. Rep. John Spratt, a York Democrat and attorney, was considered the dean of the state’s congressional delegation, having represented South Carolina’s Fifth District congressional seat for nearly 30 years.

Spratt was chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget and second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services when he lost his re-election bid in 2010.

"For years, I have watched Hillary Clinton's perseverance and admired her willingness to take on challenge after challenge on both sides of the aisle,” said Spratt in a news release.

When Clinton sought the nomination in 2008, Spratt endorsed then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton has a 50-percentage point lead in the Palmetto State’s Feb. 27 Democratic presidential primary. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont as 21 percent support and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has about 3 percent support, according to an average of polls in the state.

“She's focused on the right priorities for South Carolina families: lifting up the middle class, fighting for our veterans and military families, and making smart investments in education and health care,” Spratt said in the campaign’s news release.

Spratt co-authored the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 under President Bill Clinton and was a key backer of President Obama’s healthcare law – a point that Republican Mick Mulvaney emphasized in his successful 2010 campaign to unseat Spratt.

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