Hillary Clinton stands on the cusp of having enough delegates to claim the Democratic presidential nomination, having overwhelmed Bernie Sanders in a pair of weekend elections in the Caribbean.
Yet the former secretary of state barely noted her commanding wins on Saturday in the US Virgin Islands and Sunday in Puerto Rico, instead remaining focused on Tuesday’s contest in California and five other states — and a general election match-up to come against the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
“We’re going to have a very contentious campaign,” Ms Clinton said late on Sunday night at a rally in the California capital, “because I’m going to point out at every single moment that I can why I believe the Republican nominee should never get near the White House.”
Urging voters to come out today, Ms Clinton said she wants to “finish strong in California. It means the world to me.”
Ms Clinton is now 26 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to win the nomination. She won all seven delegates available in the US Virgin Islands and at least 33 of the 60 delegates available in Puerto Rico. She beat the Vermont senator there by roughly 61% to 39%.
She now has 1,809 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses. Mr Sanders has 1,520.
When including super- delegates, the party insiders who can vote for the candidate of their choice at the party’s summer convention, her lead over Mr Sanders is substantial: 2,357 to 1,566.
Though Ms Clinton did not spend much time campaigning in Puerto Rico, the victory is fraught with symbolism for her campaign. Eight years ago, with the presidential nomination slipping from her grasp, she rolled through the streets of San Juan on the back of a flat-bed truck, wooing voters to a soundtrack of blasting Latin music.
She beat then-Illinois senator Barack Obama with nearly 68% of the vote.
“I’m for Hillary, girl,” said 83-year-old Candida Dones on Sunday as she cast her ballot. “I can’t wait for a female president. She’s one of us. She wears the pants. If we don’t look out for our own interests, who will?”
Both Ms Clinton and Mr Sanders spent Sunday in California, the biggest prize among the six states voting today. Mr Sanders strolled for more than an hour along the shops, restaurants, and amusement park rides of the Santa Monica Pier.
That included a stop at a charity ‘Pedal on the Pier’ fundraiser, where Mr Sanders told people riding on stationary bikes that the US should have “an economy that works for all people, not just the one percent”.
Mr Sanders said during a rally in San Diego that Democratic leaders should take notice that the “energy and grassroots activism” that will be crucial to the party in the autumn “is with us, not Hillary Clinton”.
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