Bakari Sellers says tweet expresses desire to run, but not vs. Clyburn

Dec 01, 2017

PANTHER 2017 fall bakari sellers 11-28 visit
CNN analyst Bakari Sellers speaks to multimedia students at Claflin on Nov. 28. (Panther photo)

It's amazing how Twitter moves the news cycle, former state lawmaker and past candidate for lieutenant governor Bakari Sellers said.

Addressing multimedia students at Claflin University on Nov. 28, the CNN political analyst explained the tweet that made a huge political buzz on social media Sunday. 

"On Twitter on Sunday around 9, I posted a few words, I said that ‘I'm going to run soon,’" Sellers said. This tweet is now on the front page of The Post and Courier of Charleston and is being reported by national publications.

Sellers said he was referencing a desire to run for the 6th District seat in Congress held by veteran Rep. James Clyburn, for whom Sellers was once an intern in Washington.

The tweet led to a response by the third-highest-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House, Sellers said. Published reports Tuesday had Clyburn saying he plans to seek re-election in 2018.

Sellers said his tweet does not mean he plans to challenge Clyburn next year. "I do not believe in martyrdom when it comes to politics."

"I want people to know that I want to represent this area, I want to represent this district," he said. "My hope is to have myself on a ballot in 2020 or 2022."

Although Sellers wants a seat in Congress, he said his top goal right now is to be a good husband and father. "Some people don't realize how difficult it is, and it’s something I work on every day and I take seriously."

Sellers has a huge platform on CNN, where he appears frequently as a commentator on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. "I built this media personality," he said. 

"My schedule is always insane," Sellers said.

Sellers said running for office requires a major dedication of time and effort. "It's time-consuming, it's a lot, but it is something I'm willing to do when that time comes."

He said he considered a race for governor in 2018 but decided against it. "Something I'm not running for is governor or attorney general.”

Those races are ones he would not win, Sellers said. "I lost one statewide race and I didn't want to lose another one that I didn't feel as if I could win.”

Sellers told students that in politics a potential candidate must know when it is time to run for office, and even more importantly, he or she should know when it is not the time to run. 

Sellers, a 33-year-old native of Denmark, was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives in 2006, when at age 21 he was then the youngest person ever elected as a state representative. He ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014, losing to Republican Henry McMaster, now the state’s governor.

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