updated 2/22/2007 10:19:11 PM ET 2007-02-23T03:19:11

Two more black South Carolina lawmakers endorsing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have ties to a media consulting firm hired by the White House hopeful.

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However, both the lawmakers and the campaign said Thursday their support has nothing to do with any business dealings.

Clinton’s campaign announced this week that state Reps. David J. Mack III of North Charleston and Terry Alexander of Florence, along with several other black politicians, had endorsed Clinton for president.

“I believe that she has the best chance to bring a Democrat in the White House,” Mack said Thursday. “That’s where my focus is: Who has the best chance to take back the White House.”

Mack and Alexander operate offshoots of Sunrise Communication of Columbia, which is owned by influential state Sen. Darrell Jackson. The connection was first reported by The (Columbia) State in Thursday’s newspapers.

Jackson said last week he would endorse Clinton, and then revealed that his firm was being paid $10,000 a month to help her South Carolina operation. Both Jackson and the Clinton campaign have denied a connection between his endorsement and the contract.

Mack and Alexander said Thursday that their endorsements have nothing to do with a contract between Jackson’s firm and the Clinton campaign. All three men said Thursday that the spinoff companies operate independently of Jackson’s outfit.

“I have been following her a long time,” Alexander said. “I think she’s for what’s best for the country.”

The black vote is considered key to winning the Democratic nomination in South Carolina. Nearly half the voters in the 2004 primary were black. South Carolina is holding the first-in-the-South Democratic presidential primary next year.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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