Bernie Sanders reaffirmed Sunday that he is not planning to accept defeat in the primary race until the Democratic Party's convention in July, regardless of the outcome of the June 7 primaries, which include delegate-rich California and New Jersey.
Talking to reporters before an event in East Oakland, California, Sanders preemptively rejected any declarations about Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominee until superdelegates vote in Philadelphia at the party's convention later this summer, even if she passes the threshold for delegates needed, as she likely will, next week.
"I think you know there's been some discussion that some of the media is going to say the campaign is over, she is the nominee on Tuesday night after the votes come in from New Jersey — that's not accurate," said Sanders, who has been feverishly campaigning in California, where 475 pledged delegates are at stake.
The Sanders campaign has said for months that it intends to fight until the national party meets in Philadelphia, even if Sanders does not have a take the lead in pledged delegates. However, until recently, the Vermont senator has also consistently contended he will pass her on that front. These days the senator talks about the momentum he will have going into Philadelphia. Sanders comments today were also notable as they come so late in the game, just a week before June 7, and as Clinton stands on the verge of securing the number of delegates needed for the nomination.
Considering Clinton's resounding lead among the party's superdelegates, the former Secretary of State currently needs only 73 more delegates to clinch the nomination. She has 2,310 pledged and superdelegates committed to her, out of the 2,383 needed in total.
If Clinton wins roughly 50 percent of the pledged delegates available in contests this weekend in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, then she will only be 39 delegates shy coming into June 7.
"She has received obviously a whole lot of superdelegate support, no question about that," Sanders said. "A lot more than I have. But superdelegates don't vote until they're on the floor of the Democratic convention. That's when they vote. Sanders addded that "starting yesterday" his job was to convince superdelegates of his electability against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Sanders has been feverishly campaigning up and down California hoping for a landslide victory in the far west state where 475 pledged delegates are at stake.