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Today’s Kansas City Star reports that Congressman Emanuel Cleaver endorsed Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination.

Cleaver discusses his support for Sen. Clinton [tiny URL]

…Cleaver decided recently to throw his support to Clinton. In fact, Cleaver has decided to serve as co-chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign in Missouri….

Here’s the campaign press release:

8/21/2007
Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II Endorses Clinton
Cleaver Will Serve as Co-Chair of Missouri Campaign, Faith Steering Committee

The Clinton Campaign today announced the endorsement of Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, and named him Co-Chair of Hillary’s Missouri campaign and a Co-Chair of her national Faith Steering Committee.

“Americans are ready for change, and Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to deliver,” Congressman Cleaver said. “Hillary can restore America’s role as a moral leader at home and abroad.”

Cleaver is in his second term in Congress and serves on the exclusive Financial Services Committee and on the Speaker’s Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Cleaver is also an ordained Methodist Minister and still serves as Senior Pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City.

Prior to his election to Congress, Cleaver served two terms as Mayor of Kansas City, focusing on economic development and job creation. In recognition of his work, Cleaver’s peers chose him as President of the National Conference of Black Mayors for two terms.

Cleaver was first elected to public office in 1979 as a City Councilman in Kansas City. During his 12 year tenure, he served as Mayor Pro Tem and was an active Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Committee.

“Emanuel has dedicated his life to lifting others up and expanding opportunity for his constituents,” Clinton said. “I am delighted he will help lead our efforts in Missouri and across the country.”

Steve Penn, in the Star continued:

….It was an aggressive and savvy move by Clinton to lock down Cleaver’s support now. It shows that Clinton and her strategists are closely analyzing the political map. They have a big circle around Missouri.

Clinton is well aware of just how much weight Cleaver carries in this part of the country. In fact, his endorsement might be the most crucial of anyone’s in this area.

Clinton realizes that having him guide her politically in Missouri is a huge favor to ask. But if he comes through, his loyalty will be rewarded….

With a February 5th presidential primary Missouri is bound to see some public polls any day now.