Hillary Clinton is expected to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday as five states — including New Jersey and California — hold their primary elections.
Clinton needs 26 of the 676 delegates up for grabs to lock-up the nomination, while rival Bernie Sanders needs 817 delegates before the Democratic National Convention in July.
New Jersey, where 142 delegates are at play, and where Clinton leads in recent state polls, is expected to carry the former secretary of state over the party’s 2,383 delegate threshold, giving her a critical victory to tout hours before polls close on the West coast.
“I’m very proud of the campaign we’re running here, and I believe, on Tuesday, I will have decisively won the popular vote and I will have decisively won the pledged delegate majority,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN on Sunday.
Sanders has vowed to fight for the nomination until every primary vote is cast -- pegging his hopes that a win in California, where he trails Clinton by two percentage points in recent state polls, will bolster support for his underdog campaign among the party’s superdelegates, who have largely pledged their votes to Clinton, but are free to change their minds before the convention.
“If we can win, and win big here in California and in the other states, and in Washington D.C., we are going to go into the Democratic convention with enormous momentum,” Sanders told supporters on Saturday at a rally outside of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Despite Sanders’ strong push in California, “it seems almost certain that Clinton will have won enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination on Tuesday,” said Alan I. Abramowitz, senior columnist for the University of Virginia Center for Politics, “Crystal Ball” blog, which has been projecting winners in each primary race.
Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota also will hold primaries Tuesday, with Clinton holding a statistical edge over Sanders in four of the five states, Abramowitz said.
“The greater the African-American share of the electorate, the greater the proportion of Democratic identifiers, and the larger the number of states holding primaries on the same day, the better Clinton does,” Abramowitz wrote on the Crystal Ball blog.
Abramowitz predicts Sanders, an independent U.S. zenator from Vermont, will win Montana because it’s “a state with a large share of independents,” while Clinton will have a “fairly comfortable win” in New Jersey, “a state with a much smaller share of independents and a substantial African-American electorate.”
California, New Mexico and South Dakota are expected to be close races, with Clinton predicted to win by margins no greater than five percentage points, Abramowitz said.
Clinton is slated to address supporters at a campaign event in Brooklyn Tuesday night, while Sanders will rally with supporters in Santa Monica, according to their campaign schedules.
Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who met the GOP’s 1,237 delegate requirement last month, is scheduled to host a press conference at Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan to discuss the primary results.
Washington D.C. will hold the final Democratic primary of the season on June 14.