Clinton expects to lock up Democratic nomination with Tuesday's six-state vote

By Doug G. Ware  |  June 7, 2016 at 6:34 PM
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LOS ANGELES, June 7 (UPI) -- Twelve days after Republican candidate Donald Trump locked up his party's nomination, Hillary Clinton is expecting to do the same Tuesday when the nation's final six states cast their votes in the Democratic primary race.

On Monday, multiple news outlets reported that with her pledged delegates and superdelegates, Clinton already secured enough support to become the nation's first female presidential nominee from a major political party.

Winning the delegates up for grabs Tuesday couldn't hurt her projected win. The states voting Tuesday are California (with 548 total delegates), New Jersey (142), New Mexico (43), Montana (27), South Dakota (25) and North Dakota (23).

According to recent polling data, Clinton holds an edge over Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., in at least four of the six voting states. In California, Clinton leads by about 2 percentage points. In New Jersey, that lead is much larger.

In New Mexico and Montana, polls conducted earlier this year showed Clinton with a commanding lead. The final Democratic primary in the United States, in Washington, D.C., (20 delegates), is scheduled to take place June 14.

Though Clinton may have crossed the nomination threshold Monday, the Democratic race still, technically, might not be over. The reason is simple -- pledged delegates versus unpledged superdelegates.

Before the primaries Tuesday, Clinton holds 1,812 pledged delegates -- key supporters who have already voted for the former secretary of state based on the nation's primaries and caucuses. However, 548 of her logged voters are unpledged superdelegates who have not yet cast their ballots, but plan to at the Democratic National Convention on July 25.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses supporters during a concert and rally at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif., on June 4, 2016. Sanders said Sunday that he doesn't think Hillary Clinton can officially lock up the Democratic nomination on Tuesday because she won't have enough pledged delegates. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

If Clinton fails to win 571 of the 694 pledged delegates Tuesday night, which some analysts believe is highly unlikely, she then must rely on her superdelegates to follow through on their pledges and vote for her at the Philadelphia convention. The nomination won't be official until then.

Clinton, though, said she expects Tuesday to bring the proverbial slamming of the door on Sanders' hopes.

"I believe on Tuesday I will have decisively won the popular vote and I will have decisively won the pledged-delegate majority," Clinton told CNN on Sunday. "After Tuesday I'm going to do everything I can to reach out to try to unify the Democratic Party, and I expect Sen. Sanders to do the same."

"I think that's kind of not quite accurate," Sanders told CNN. "Superdelegates may change their mind."

Although unpledged superdelegates don't usually switch allegiances, Sanders is hoping he'll be able to swipe the nomination right out from under Clinton at the convention.

Experts are split about whether Clinton's led is insurmountable or not -- some believing the Vermont senator has no chance, and others cautiously leaving the door open for a brokered convention on July 23.

During her interview with CNN, Clinton also said Sanders should drop out for the good of the party if he loses Tuesday -- noting that in 2008, in a close race with then-Sen. Barack Obama, she departed the race for that very reason.

"A lot of my supporters said, 'hey let's keep going, let's make sure we go to the convention. And I said, 'no,'" she recalled.

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