The Associated Press says Hillary Clinton has enough delegates to become the Democratic nominee for president.
The AP says its count of delegates and so-called superdelegates shows Clinton has reached the 2,383-delegate majority needed to become the party’s presumptive nominee. The declaration comes on the eve of the last major day of primaries in the Democratic race, including the delegate-rich states of California and New Jersey.
Upon receiving the news, the Clinton campaign tweeted a message to supporters in tomorrow’s primary states, urging them to vote anyway:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 7, 2016
The AP determined Clinton had reached the magic number after surveying the Democratic party’s 714 superdelegates, who are free to vote for any candidate at the convention. It found that 571 superdelegates have “unequivocally” committed to supporting Clinton, while just 95 remain uncommitted. Add to that number the 1,812 delegates Clinton has won in primaries and caucuses, and she reaches the 2,383 threshold before a single vote is cast tomorrow.
This announcement clearly throws a wrench in the Sanders campaign’s hopes of locking up a victory in California tomorrow and convincing some of Clinton’s superdelegates to vote for Sanders instead, forcing a contested convention. In recent weeks, Sanders has been focusing all of his energy on California, including a major San Francisco rally tonight featuring some of the Vermont senator’s celebrity backers.
As Sanders supporters gathered under cloudy skies with the Golden Gate Bridge looming in the background, the mood was festive and defiant despite the AP’s call.
“It makes no sense. We haven’t even voted yet. It’s not fair—California is the biggest state,” said Isabel Saenz, 40, of San Francisco.
And it’s not just Sanders’ supporters who are still unwilling to admit defeat. In a statement circulated shortly after the AP made its call, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said the nomination contest is not over until the superdelegates actually cast their votes in July.
“Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. She will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then,” Briggs wrote. “Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump.”
It’s important to note that the AP won’t refer to Clinton as the “nominee” until the convention, either. But superdelegates have so far never changed the outcome of a presidential nomination.
With additional reporting by Davey Alba