Former Congressman and NAACP President and CEO Kweisi Mfume endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Monday, the Clinton campaign said.
Clinton is trying to shore up support among African American voters and others in the face of Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign. Mfume’s endorsement comes two days after Clinton held off Sanders to win the Nevada Democratic Caucuses.
"For decades, Hillary Clinton has demonstrated her commitment to fighting for Black and Latino communities in both deed and action,” Mfume said in a statement released by the Clinton campaign.
"From voting rights, to health care, to education, to reforming our criminal justice system and eradicating poverty the need for a proven and time tested leader is more clear today than ever before,” he said.
"The basic American principle of equal treatment under law is in many ways still under attack. We need a leader who has stood up and spent time working on our behalf when it wasn't popular. She has used her life to fight for others and not just to make promises. “
Mfume, 67, represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District from 1987 to 1996, and led the NAACP from 1996 to 2004. He began his career in politics on the Baltimore City Council.
Benjamin Jealous, a more recent president and CEO of the NAACP, has endorsed Sanders in the Democratic primary. The independent senator from Vermont has been trying to make inroads into Clinton’s wide lead among voters of color.
Sanders came to Baltimore in December to meet with African-American leaders.
Baltimore-based attorney William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr., who represents the family of Freddie Gray, endorsed Clinton last week.
Mfume noted that he served in Congress with Sanders and knows him to be “a likable guy.”
“But I know that Hillary understands our struggles first hand. I believe she is the candidate best suited to carry on the work and progress made on health care and common sense gun reforms … and then actually get something done.”