The Associated Press made a surprise announcement on the eve of the June 7 primaries: Hillary Clinton has reached the “magic number” of 2,383 delegates needed to become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Her total is comprised of pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses, as well as superdelegates—the party officials and officeholders who can back a candidate of their choosing. The tally and announcement came after the AP surveyed the superdelegates repeatedly in the past seven months, and pledged their support unequivocally to Clinton.
Clinton’s campaign took a cautious approach in celebration of the news, fearing a depression in turnout, and encouraging people to come out to vote in the six primaries.
“We’re flattered, @AP, but we’ve got primaries to win. CA, MT, NM, ND, NJ, SD, vote tomorrow!” Clinton tweeted.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 7, 2016
The Sanders campaign, conversely, took the news by condemning the media sources that made the declaration.
“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 superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer,” Sanders’ spokesman Michael Briggs said.
During a rally Monday evening in San Francisco, Sanders said a victory in California would give him “enormous momentum” in his bid to push the Democratic primary to a convention fight.
Sanders is urging superdelegates to drop their support for Clinton before the gathering in Philadelphia, arguing he is a stronger candidate to take on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
But Sanders has so far been unable to sway the superdelegates, and there were signs Monday that he was taking stock of his standing in the race. Speaking to reporters, Sanders said he planned to return to Vermont on Wednesday and “assess where we are” following the California results.
Clinton has also outperformed Sanders throughout the primary season, leading Sanders by more than 3 million cast votes, by 291 pledged delegates and by 523 superdelegates. She won 29 caucuses and primaries in states and U.S. territories to his 21 victories.
The Clinton campaign is planning a celebration of their primary victory in her Brooklyn headquarters:
“We’re going to celebrate tonight. Like I said, a lot of people want to make sure to turn out today,” Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“We do not want to send a message that anybody’s vote doesn’t count. Hillary said at the beginning of this campaign, she’s going to fight for every single vote, that’s what we’re going to do. We’ve got few hours left and then celebrate as you said, what is a very historic occasion. We’re really excited about that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.