The California Democratic primary will take place next Tuesday, June 7, with prominent party leaders hoping to close ranks around Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders refusing to give ground in what will be a closely contested contest.
According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Clinton holds a 7.4 percent lead over Sanders in California. In the five most recent polls, she leads two of them by double digits, conducted by Hoover and KABC. But in the other three, conducted by Fox News, PPIC, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal, Sanders trails Clinton by just two. There are 475 delegates at stake.
Clinton leads Sanders in the delegate count, 2,312 to 1,545. But as Sanders and his supporters are quick to point out, Clinton leads him by 543-44 among the superdelegates, which inflates her lead. Regardless, her current count put her just 70 delegates away from securing the nomination.
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However, a California victory for Sanders could be very embarrassing for Clinton, as she and her supporters are trying to focus upon Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee. So a California victory is very important to her.
For that reason, the Clinton campaign was able to announce two major endorsements today -- one from California governor Jerry Brown, the other from an environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Action Fund, the Washington Post reported.
"This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other," Brown said in an open letter that called for party unity behind Clinton. "The general election has already begun."
And while Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator and liberal favorite, has not yet endorsed Hillary Clinton, the Post noted that "she has stepped up her attacks on Trump, and her advisers have begun communicating regularly with the Clinton campaign."
"We are in regular contact with her team and are very excited about the prominent role she has taken in defining what's at stake in the election," a Clinton spokesman told the Post.
The situation for Democrats right now is "delicate," the Post said. On the one hand, party leaders want to unite behind Clinton, and they likely view time spent on Sanders as wasted that would be better spent focusing on Trump. On the other hand, the Democrats don't want to risk alienating Sanders' young, generally enthusiastic supporters who are already upset following the Nevada convention, which many of them believe was unfair to their candidate.
According to an April McClatchy poll, 25 percent of Sanders supporters say they "would not back Clinton in a general election if she became the Democratic nominee for president, while just 69 percent say they would support her."
The Post reported that at a Santa Cruz rally, Sanders told supporters that after the last states vote on June 7, the media will announce that "the primary process is over, Secretary Clinton has won."
This statement was met by boos.
"That is factually incorrect. It's just not factually correct," Sanders said. He is hoping that increasing momentum -- including a California victory -- will help his chances to flip many of the superdelegates committed to Clinton to change their support to him.
Hillary Clinton's campaign is "increasingly antsy" about California, the Post said. So much so that she cancelled a New Jersey rally last Thursday to spend more time in the "Golden State" and have a five-day tour there.
"I'm feeling very positive about my campaign in California," Clinton said in an interview. "We are working really hard."
What do you think? Will Hillary Clinton win the Democratic primary? Or can Bernie Sanders pull off an upset?
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]