Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders hit final stretch of nomination contest

Democrats in closing stages of nomination contest.

US Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders now turn their attention to the final stretch of the nominating contest after each picked up wins as they vie to represent their party in the November race for the White House.

The Democratic primary — which has stretched longer than most anticipated — hits a slow period until June 7, when the next contests will be held, including the delegate heavy states of California and New Jersey.

The divided outcome from Tuesday in Kentucky and Oregon means Ms Clinton won’t yet be able to turn all of her attention to the general election and taking on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who locked up his party’s nomination after the rest of his rivals dropped out in early May.

Ms Clinton narrowly defeated Mr Sanders in Kentucky, a state where she was not expected to be victorious. Mr Sanders bested her in Oregon, a state that played to his strengths.

In Kentucky, the two candidates will likely split the 55 delegates up for grabs. In Oregon, Mr Sanders will take only a handful more of the 61 delegates that were awarded.

 

Ms Clinton’s lead in delegates means it is likely she will eventually be her party’s nominee, but she remains more than 100 delegates short of sealing the deal.

Mr Trump has begun to organise his general election campaign. On Tuesday, he signed a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee.

The agreement allows him to raise $449,400 (€400,626) from a single donor by splitting the funds between his campaign, the RNC, and state Republican parties.

Mr Trump, who eschewed donations in the political system through the primary, has thus far insisted on mostly self-funding his campaign.

The shift to a more traditional fundraising approach could draw ire from some of his supporters.

Mr Trump, in an interview with Megyn Kelly that aired on Fox News and whom he apologised to after a very public spat, said he did have regrets about his actions during the Republican primary process.

“I could have used different language in a couple of instances, but overall I’m happy with the outcome,” Mr Trump said.

When asked by Ms Kelly if he regretted any of his tweets and re-tweets, including calling the Fox News host a “bimbo” the Republican front-runner asked “did I say that? Excuse me.”

He couldn’t resist another sly dig, adding: “Over your life, Megyn, you’ve been called a lot worse, wouldn’t you say?”

Mr Trump also said he understood that Ms Kelly was only doing her job and he “liked” how their relationship was transforming.

Meanwhile, both candidates camps continued to exchange words after violent outbursts by supporters of Mr Sanders ended the Nevada Democratic convention.

Supporters became angry when Nevada state party officials chose to end their convention and block efforts to award the US senator from Vermont more delegates than he initially won in the February caucus. Ms Clinton won the caucus.

One supporter of Sanders threw a chair. Others applied chalk graffiti to a party building. Supporters began circulating a picture of the party chairwoman Roberta Lange on the internet that included her phone number and encouraged others to contact her to express their unhappiness.

Ms Lange said she has received several death threats, including to her husband and grandson. One voicemail left on her phone said “people like you should be hung in a public execution.”

Mr Sanders — who said he condemns violence and personal harassment of individuals — levelled some of the same complaints his supporters did, arguing that state party chairwoman Ms Lange did not allow a headcount on a disputed rules change.

He also argued that 64 delegates to the state convention were not given a hearing before being ruled ineligible.

The state party disputed the Sanders campaign’s interpretation of the events. It said some delegates did not show up at the convention and others were disqualified because they were not registered as Democrats in time.

In the wake of the dispute in Nevada, that involved a fight about allowing participation by Sanders supporters who didn’t register to be Democrats in time, the Vermont senator increased his call to for the party to allow participation by non-party members. Mr Sanders, a self-described democratic socialists, is not a registered Democrat.

Ms Clinton’s campaign continued to express confidence that she will be able to unify the party.

“Hillary Clinton is grateful to the thousands of Nevadans who came out to participate in the caucuses and convention process,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in response to Nevada.

“She believes every voice should be heard and no one should be intimidated, harassed or threatened in this process.”

Enda Kenny: Ireland would work with Donald Trump

Fiachra Ó Cionnaith

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said “Ireland and the world will have to work” with Donald Trump if the controversial figure is elected president, despite raising concerns about his “provocative and divisive” views.

Speaking to reporters on a two-day 1916 commemoration visit to Washington DC, the Fine Gael leader said that while many people are deeply concerned about the multi-millionaire, Ireland will have no choice than to work with him if he gains power.

“The world will have to work with whatever president that is, including Ireland, and given our traditional association with the US, we will manage to do that,” he said.

Mr Kenny’s tacit admission Ireland will not back away from engagements with the US if Mr Trump is elected to replace current president Barack Obama in November jar with other views by EU colleagues.

Earlier this week, British prime minister David Cameron said he “stood by” his view that Mr Trump’s position on Muslims — who he said after last autumn’s Paris attacks should be banned from entering the US — was “stupid” and offensive in the extreme.

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