By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s coalition of black clergy announced its endorsement today for the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race.

“Rob McCord is first among his peers and stands head-and-shoulders above the rest in the Democratic field,” said Rev. Terrance Griffith, president of the Philadelphia Black Clergy.

Griffith says they chose McCord because, as state treasurer, he has shown a genuine commitment to the African-American community.

“We need a governor who is equipped with the economic plight of a people, and Rob McCord as a little boy saw his mother struggle to make ends meet,” Griffith said.

Griffith told reporters that many candidates only call when they need the clergy.  He says McCord has been consistent in his engagement with them.

“We are not interested in a political booty call,” said Griffith.  “We are interested in long-term relationships that will bring social, economic, and educational benefits to the people of Pennsylvania.”

The candidate, whose wife Leigh is African-American, promises to bring more funding to Philadelphia public schools, more equality to the criminal justice system, and more jobs.

He called the Philadelphia Black Clergy endorsement “symbolic” and is hoping the more groups within the black community will jump on his bandwagon.

“The African-American communities, the African-American leaders, the African-American institutions across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania…  I want them to be for McCord and I want them to help make Rob McCord governor,” he said today.

McCord has also received endorsements from several unions.

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