This is the end; my only friend, the end. Right?
The Associated Press says Hillary Clinton has the Democratic nomination mathematically wrapped up. That opinion will be nigh unanimous after today’s contests in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. The question is whether Bernie Sanders accepts the verdict.
An upset win in California tonight could inspire Sanders to carry on with his argument that polls show him doing better against Donald Trump, and thus superdelegates should stampede his way. There has been no indication of that happening yet.
After today’s voting crescendo, there’s just 45 delegates at stake in Washington, D.C., in a week. Then it’s on to the Philadelphia convention.
California — 475 pledged delegates, 71 superdelegates
Both candidates have campaigned hard and nearly exclusively in the Golden State. Sanders has mounted his trademark massive rallies, while Clinton, keeping a more aggressive schedule than usual, delivered a well-received takedown of Trump in San Diego. Her presence showed she still cared about the primary, while her words showed her readying for a general election fight that even President Barack Obama is eager to get rolling.
This could be Clinton’s shot at a knockout blow to Sanders’ increasingly implausible chances at the nomination. A win in Democrats’ biggest delegate haul — even though it’s proportional — would give Sanders a powerful talking point if he wants to keep hanging around.
Expect Sanders to do better in more liberal and whiter Northern California, while Clinton should fare well in minority-heavy SoCal. Latino voters are the X-factor.
Candidate Visits: Clinton was in Culver City, Westminster, Santa Ana and San Bernardino on Friday; Sylmar, Oxnard, Santa Barbara and Fresno on Saturday; Sacramento on Sunday; Lynwood, Los Angeles and Long Beach on Monday.
Sanders was in Fairfield and Cloverdale on Friday; Los Angeles on Saturday; San Diego on Sunday; and San Francisco on Monday.
Links: Clinton is finding her stride campaigning in California after her big Trump speech (Buzzfeed)
In Compton, Clinton none too subtly reminds Sanders about that time she dropped out eight years ago (L.A. Times)
In San Francisco, Sanders supporters were angry at the media for calling the nomination early for Clinton (Washington Post)
New Jersey — 126 pledged, 16 super
Until AP spoiled the fun Monday night, this was supposed to be the early East Coast call that officially sealed the first female major party presidential nominee. Clinton still plans to speak in prime time from New York to kick off a general election that already feels kicked off, and celebrate a bit of history.
Her camp is confident that New Jersey will cast its ballot for Clinton. The surrounding states all did, and the Garden State’s demographic profile sets up well for her to continue to dominate the Acela Corridor.
Candidate Visits: Hillary Clinton was in Newark on June 1. Bill Clinton was in Edison on May 27.
Links: Halfway There: Jon Bon Jovi campaigns with Clinton in Newark (CBS News)
Jersey is big on the veepstakes, with Sen. Cory Booker (Dems) and Gov. Chris Christie (GOP) firmly in the mix (Newark Star-Ledger)
New Mexico — 34 pledged, 9 super
With the highest proportion of Latinos in the country, the Land of Enchantment is hard to predict. Hispanics have not been as loyal to Clinton as African-American voters. Sanders has done well out West
Candidate Visits: Sanders was in Santa Fe and Albuquerque on May 20 and Vado on May 21. Bill Clinton was in Espanola on May 24, Albuquerque on May 25 and Las Cruces on Thursday.
Links: Early voting across the state has nearly doubled 2012 totals (Albuquerque Journal)
Montana — 21 pledged, 6 super
Sanders likes the Mountain West, where his populist style plays well and he does not have to win over as many minority voters. Expect that trend to continue. Clinton does not have the endorsement of the state’s top Democrats, a rarity for her.
Candidate Visits: Sanders was in Missoula and Billings on May 11. Bill Clinton was in Billings on May 20.
Links: Weird trivia: With his visit last month, Sanders became the first active presidential candidate to campaign in Montana (AP)
South Dakota — 20 pledged, 5 super
Rural, Upper Midwest states have been Sanders Country to this point, so another triumph is likely. Will he get his face added to Mount Rushmore one day? No.
Candidate Visits: Sanders was in Pine Ridge and Rapid City on May 12. Bill Clinton was in Sioux Falls on May 20.
Links: The biggest Clinton surrogate driving home the vote in the crucial final days here is former FEMA director James Lee Witt, so, there you go (Sioux Falls Argus Leader)
North Dakota — 18 pledged, 5 super
It’s in the Upper Midwest, a caucus state and lily white. Check, check, check for Bernie. But a flood of migration due to the tapping of the Bakken Oil Fields has dramatically changed the voter profile in the state, making it hard to predict.
Sanders has gone harder against fracking and other kinds of oil extraction, which might play well among the small group of Democratic caucus-goers who don’t rely on the industry for jobs and see some of the downsides.
Candidate Visits: Sanders was in Bismarck and Fargo on May 12. Bill Clinton was in Fargo on May 20.
Links: Clinton and Sanders each have two offices in North Dakota working to get out the caucus vote (AP)