Hillary Clinton was expected to claim the Democratic nomination as the first woman to lead a major party ticket, as the final batch of states voting in primaries on Tuesday will put her well over a majority of delegates.
Clinton was projected to defeat Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary in New Jersey, one of six states voting in the final major day of the presidential primaries. The biggest delegate prize was California, where rival Bernie Sanders has spent the past couple of weeks in an effort to defeat Clinton and make the case for continuing on to the Democratic National Convention in July.
Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota also were holding contests. Sanders won a caucus in North Dakota.
The Associated Press and other media outlets declared on Monday that Clinton had amassed enough pledged and unpledged “superdelegates” to clinch the nomination.
Clinton is scheduled to speak about 7 p.m. PT at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where the campaign was expected to celebrate her victory and its historic importance.
After he shook hands along Hollywood Boulevard and in Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction and gave some media interviews, Sanders was headed to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, and he was expected to speak about 10 p.m., two hours after polls close in California. His campaign spent $2.2 million on TV and radio advertising in California, while Clinton spent $1.4 million, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
Sanders told reporters on Monday that he would fly back to Vermont after the primary and “assess where we are.” He has vowed to take his campaign all the way to the convention, and to spend the intervening time trying to convince unpledged delegates, the majority of whom have said they would vote for Clinton, to switch.
Donald Trump already has clinched the nomination, but he is facing a furor over racially charged comments he has made about Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge presiding over civil litigation involving Trump University.
Trump alluded to the controversy as he gave a speech in Westchester, N.Y., but instead of delivering freewheeling remarks, as he usuually does, he read from a Teleprompter.
“I know some people say I am too much of a fighter. My preference is always peace, however,” he said.
His tone was a tad more subdued as he stuck to a script, promising to deliver a speech next week focusing on the Clintons. “The Clintons have turned the politics of personal enrichment into an art form for themselves,” he said.
By citing issues of trade and campaign finance, he also tried to woo supporters of Sanders, calling the Democratic nomination process “rigged.”
“We welcome you in open arms,” he said.
Clinton has raised $11.8 million from showbiz sources, almost ten times that of Sanders, who has raised $1.2 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
But in the entertainment industry and elsewhere, the campaigns deployed far different strategies for raising money. Clinton’s fundraising visits to Los Angeles have been monthly; Sanders has held just a few.
Clinton is bolstered by a SuperPAC backing her bid, Priorities USA Action, that has drawn heavily on seven-figures contributions from Haim Saban, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and others; Sanders has disavowed SuperPACs.
Clinton headlined a fundraiser at the home of George Clooney in April that raised money for her campaign and national and state parties; Sanders supporters held their own rival event down the road and even threw money at her motorcade as it went by.
Clinton’s early boosters included an assortment of media moguls and studio chiefs; Sanders boasted of a list of “Artists for Bernie,” including musicians like Lucinda Williams and Vampire Weekend. The candidate didn’t draw many of Hollywood power players. In fact, he even attacked Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger’s compensation during a campaign appearance — and Iger fired back.
The acrimony between Clinton and Sanders supporters may, in the end, turn out to be momentary divisions, akin to the gulf between Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008. Back then, the bitterness began to face by the time of the convention.
Regardless of what Sanders does, Clinton is turning her attention to general election battleground states. Her campaign announced on Tuesday that she would campaign in Ohio and Pennsylvania on Monday and Tuesday.
Clinton’s campaign unveiled a new video, “History Made,” to mark her status as presumptive nominee.