After Weekend Wins, Clinton on Cusp of Democratic Nomination

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -
Hillary Clinton campaign signs lie in a pile outside the debate hall before a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Hillary Clinton campaign signs. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Hillary Clinton stands on the cusp of having enough delegates to claim the Democratic presidential nomination, having overwhelmed Bernie Sanders in a pair of weekend elections in the Caribbean.

Yet the former secretary of state barely noted her commanding wins Saturday in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Sunday in Puerto Rico, instead remaining focused on Tuesday’s contest in California and five other states — and a general election matchup to come against presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

“We’re going to have a very contentious campaign,” Clinton said late Sunday night at a rally in the California capital, “because I’m going to point out at every single moment that I can why I believe the Republican nominee should never get near the White House.”

Urging voters to come out Tuesday, Clinton said she wants to “finish strong in California. It means the world to me.”

After blowout weekend wins the two U.S. territories, Clinton is now 26 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to win the nomination, according to an Associated Press count.

Clinton won all seven delegates available in the U.S. Virgin Islands and at least 33 of the 60 delegates available in Puerto Rico. She beat the Vermont senator there by roughly 61 percent to 39 percent.

Clinton now has 1,809 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses; Sanders has 1,520.

When including superdelegates, the party insiders who can vote for the candidate of their choice at the party’s summer convention, her lead over Sanders is substantial: 2,357 to 1,566.

Both Clinton and Sanders spent Sunday in California, the biggest prize among the six states voting on Tuesday.

Sanders pointed to polls showing him faring better than Clinton in head-to-head matchups with Trump and his strength among Democratic voters under the age of 45.

“If the Democratic leadership wants a campaign that will not only retain the White House but regain the Senate and win governors’ chairs all across this country, we are that campaign,” he said.