Hillary Clinton crosses tape for Democratic nomination
Report says support from super delegates has helped party’s frontrunner secure selection
Hillary Clinton has secured enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination, becoming the first female candidate for US president for either of the two main parties, the Associated Press reported on Monday night.
The AP declared Mrs Clinton’s victory after surveying super delegates, or members of the Democratic party elite who are given votes towards the nomination.
The Democratic nominee must secure the support of 2,383 pledged delegates and super delegates. Following her victory in the Puerto Rico primary on Sunday, Mrs Clinton had the support of 1,812 pledged delegates, while Bernie Sanders, her opponent, had the support of 1,521 pledged delegates plus 48 super delegates.
Mrs Clinton’s path to the Democratic nomination was far more difficult than many had predicted at the outset of the campaign, when she had already secured endorsements from most of the party’s establishment and enjoyed a considerable fundraising edge.
However, the crossing of the delegate threshold for Mrs Clinton marks another landmark in the changing face of American politics, coming eight years after an African-American became the first non-white man to secure a major party nomination.
Although Mrs Clinton has struggled to energise white liberals in the north of the country, many of whom have instead sided with Mr Sanders, enthusiastic support from blacks and Hispanics in the south and west helped propel her to the nomination.
The AP’s report came one day ahead of primaries on Tuesday in California, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota, a night that was expected to hand the nomination to Mrs Clinton and anoint her as the party’s official presumptive candidate.
Mrs Clinton acknowledged the report, but said “we still have work to do” as she encouraged her supporters to get out and vote. She wrote on Twitter: “We’re flattered, @AP, but we’ve got primaries to win. CA, MT, NM, ND, NJ, SD, vote tomorrow!”
While Mr Sanders is expected to perform well in California, which has more pledged delegates at stake than any other state in the country, Mrs Clinton was tipped to clinch the nomination before polls there closed with victories elsewhere.
She will be addressing supporters on Tuesday night in Brooklyn, home to her campaign headquarters, while Mr Sanders, who now faces growing pressure to bow out of the race, will be in Santa Monica, California.
On Monday night, a spokesman for Mr Sanders indicated that the Vermont senator had no intention of conceding defeat to Mrs Clinton before the results from Tuesday’s primary came in, suggesting that his campaign was preparing for a contested Democratic convention in July.
“It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgment, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee’s clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of super delegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer,” said Michael Briggs, Mr Sanders’ spokesman, in a statement.
“[Mrs] Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination.”
Mr Briggs added that more than 400 delegates had endorsed the former secretary of state long before the race began, and still had the opportunity to change their minds.
“Our job from now until the convention is to convince those super delegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump,” he said.
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