Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally at Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto, California on June 1, 2016. Sanders urged the crowd to knock on doors this weekend to turn out a large vote in California's June 7 primary. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, June 4 (UPI) -- Bernie Sanders expects the Democratic primary race for the nomination for president to come down to a convention vote because former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not be able to reach the required number of delegates after the last of their party's nominating contests.
Sanders called out the media during a press conference Saturday for projecting Clinton will wrap up the nomination before polls close Tuesday night in the California primary because she can't reach the 2,383-delegate requirement to win nomination.
Clinton currently has 1,769 pledged delegates to Sanders' 1,501, however the media has largely been including the number of superdelegates who have already announced their intention to vote for her at the convention -- she has received 544 endorsements from superdelegates, which brings her total delegate count to 2,313 if none of them defect and change their mind.
In addition to the June 4 caucus in the U.S. Virgin Islands, primaries in Puerto Rico on June 5 and Washington, D.C., on June 14, there are five primaries and a caucus on June 7 -- in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota -- with a total of 931 pledged delegates at stake in all the contests.
Polls have shown Sanders and Clinton are in a statistical tie in California, the biggest delegate prize of June 7, with 546 delegates being split proportionally based on results of the vote. The media has speculated, however, that if Clinton gets enough of the 142 pledged delegates at stake on the opposite side of the country in New Jersey, she will pull ahead of him -- if superdelegates are included -- and win the nomination before California has finished voting.
Sanders contends that the proportion of delegates needed to win in the remaining primaries is not enough to pass the number for automatic qualification as the nominee, and that with superdelegates at stake he has a shot to win if enough decide to support him.
"The media is in error when they lump superdelegates with pledged delegates," Sanders said during the press conference, according to CNN. "Pledged delegates are real. Hillary Clinton will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to win the Democratic nomination at the end of the nominating process on June 14. Won't happen. She will be dependent on superdelegates."
Sanders talk of a contested convention has increased in recent weeks as members of the Democratic Party, some Clinton supporters and some not, have also started publicly urging Bernie to concede the nomination based on delegate counts.
Sanders would likely need more than 200 superdelegates to switch their support from Clinton to him, but he expects it to be possible, telling the crowd at a June 2 rally in California that if he does well in the remaining contests "I think we will be marching into the Democratic convention with an enormous amount of momentum," and the potential to win the nomination.
"We understand that we have a steep climb," Sanders said at the June 4 press conference, according to The Hill. "I'm not here to tell you that tomorrow we're going to flip 300 superdelegates. You don't hear me say that. But I am saying we are going to make the case."