Hillary Clinton clinches Democratic presidential nomination, by AP count

A burst of last-minute support from superdelegates appears to put Clinton over the threshold to become the first female presidential nominee of a major party

Hillary Clinton clinches Democratic presidential nomination, by AP count

Hillary Clinton has crossed the threshold of 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination, becoming the first woman in American history to be the presidential nominee of a major party, the Associated Press reported late Monday.

The feat, from a a burst of last-minute support from superdelegates, according to the AP, was immediately contested by the rival campaign of Bernie Sanders, which argued that Clinton had not reached the crucial target through pledged delegates alone. It also said that Sanders would continue to campaign through the Democratic convention in July.

Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs dubbed the report a rush to judgment that counts superdelegates that the Democratic National Committee itself says should not be counted because they havent voted. Speaking to MSNBCs Rachel Maddow on Monday evening, he added that the potential remained for the superdelegates to change their minds before voting on July 25.

Clinton, who has amassed about 3 million more votes than Sanders in the nominating competition and has a lead of about 300 pledged delegates, has argued that superdelegates senior party officials not bound to voting results in any state would not abandon her en masse. There did not appear to be any such movement afoot.

Democratic delegate tracker

Yet the Clinton campaign signaled it would hold back declaring victory until voting in California and five other primaries on Tuesday.

During his own appearance on the same program, Hillary Clintons campaign manager Robby Mook said the news was very exciting but reiterated that she was not taking anything for granted ahead of Tuesdays primary contests.
Hillary made a pledge at the beginning of this campaign that shes going to fight for every single vote, fight for every single delegate. I think the proof is in the results, Mook said.

Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 7, 2016

Were flattered, @AP, but we’ve got primaries to win. CA, MT, NM, ND, NJ, SD, vote tomorrow! https://t.co/8t3GpZqc1U

Asked when the Sanders campaign would consider the race to be over, Briggs demurred.

Hes led a dramatic revolutionary insurgency in the party, he said of Sanders, and we are trying our darndest to give those people the voice that they have earned and deserved in the Democratic Party process.

At an event in California, news that Clinton had clinched the nomination broke while the former secretary of state was speaking at her penultimate primary campaign rally. If she already knew that she had reached the magic number of delegates, she did not directly acknowledge it on stage saying just that according to the news, we are on the brink of a historic moment.

But her speech was victorious in tone. In front of a crowd of around 1,000 at Long Beach City College, Clinton said that we still have work to do. We will fight hard for every vote especially here in California.

Hillary Clinton clinches Democratic presidential nomination, by AP count
Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop in Long Beach, California. We will fight for every vote. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

Clinton struck out several times at the presumptive Republican nominee for president, saying that she cannot wait to debate Trump.But she didnt mention Sanders once in her remarks. Instead, she called for unity in general terms, saying: Abraham Lincoln said a house divided cannot stand, and he was right.

Clinton appeared to have collected at least two dozen superdelegate commitments late on Monday, after climbing to 2,360 delegates in contests over the weekend in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Clinton had said that she expected to clear the historic hurdle making her the first female presidential nominee of a major political party sometime on Tuesday evening, after results began to come in from Democratic contests in six states.

Clinton appears extremely likely to amass a majority of pledged delegates on Tuesday, even if she underperforms the polls. With 1,812 pledged delegates currently in her corner, she is just 214 short of the mark, with about 700 delegates to be awarded Tuesday.

The timing, for Clinton, was not ideal. The Democratic frontrunners campaign had a choreographed plan to lay claim to the nomination, including a victory party in New York scheduled for Tuesday night.

She had been widely expected to declare victory in the overall race after voting in California, New Jersey, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and New Mexico, where around 700 delegates in total at stake.

Obama, who still holds great sway in the Democratic party, is expected to endorse Clinton in the coming days, and surrogates have been prepared to drive home the case that Sanders should step aside to let Clinton focus on the general election campaign against Trump.

The candidate herself made her strongest indication yet that she believed Sanders should concede the fight earlier on Monday, when she drew a direct comparison with her decision to concede to Barack Obama in 2008.

Hillary Clinton clinches Democratic presidential nomination, by AP count
Speaking in Compton, California, Clinton referenced her drop out of the 2008 race. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

Tomorrow is eight years to the day after I withdrew and endorsed then-senator Obama, she said. I believed it was the right thing to do. No matter what differences we had in our long campaign, they paled in comparison to the differences we had with the Republicans.

Clinton was long considered the overwhelming favorite in the race but Sanders underdog campaign emerged as a serious threat in the fall as he combined grassroots energy with a historic fundraising effort appealing to small donors. With a virtual tie in Iowa and a landslide win in New Hampshire, Sanders briefly looked like a threat to wrest the nomination from the former secretary of state. But, after a narrow loss in Nevada followed by a blowout defeat in South Carolina, the Vermont senator was unable to catch up again to Clinton.

However, Clinton was never able to put away Sanders insurgent campaign. The Vermont senator was able to counter losses in the Super Tuesday races on 1 March by winning caucus after caucus in an impeccable organizing effort led by veteran operative Brendan Summers. The result was a seesaw race where Sanders was able to win just enough to stay viable while his gap in pledged delegates continued to grow.

Hillary Clinton clinches Democratic presidential nomination, by AP count
Bernie Sanders campaigning in the San Francisco Bay Area on 6 June, ahead of the California primary. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

In San Francisco, where Bernie Sanders was preparing for a major rally in front of the Golden Gate bridge, word spread through the crowd who shared news reports of Clinton winning the nomination on their phones.

Disappointment was on the faces of supporters who had arrived to witness a rally marking the crescendo of his campaign only to be met with new reports suggesting it was, to all intents and purposes, over.

Several insisted the race was not yet over and said their candidate should plough on to the July convention in the hope of convincing superdelegates to switch sides. Many criticized the notion of an election being called by a news agency and raised the possibility of conspiracy.

I believe the corporate media has been doing everything possible to stop Bernie and by saying Hillary has won today you discourage people from voting tomorrow, insisted Michelle Allen, 45.

Its not over yet. Were still voting and I believe Bernie has to take this all the way to the convention.

Sabrina Siddiqui contributed reporting.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/06/hillary-clinton-clinches-democratic-presidential-nomination-ap-count