Clinton aims to se­cure nom­i­na­tion in Cal­i­for­nia


LOS AN­GE­LES (Reuters) – Hil­lary Clinton aims to cor­ral the fi­nal del­e­gates needed to clinch the Demo­cratic US pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion af­ter a long strug­gle against Bernie San­ders on Tues­day, with vot­ers casting ballots in six states, as she ramps up at­tacks on pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump.

Vot­ers in Cal­i­for­nia, Mon­tana, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Jersey and New Mex­ico will vote in nom­i­nat­ing con­tests on Tues­day. Clinton has ral­lies sched­uled in the Los An­ge­les area on Mon­day.

The Clinton cam­paign hopes the for­mer sec­re­tary of state will ef­fec­tively lock up the nom­i­na­tion early Tues­day evening with a vic­tory in New Jersey, tak­ing the fo­cus off the frac­tious bat­tle she has been fight­ing in Cal­i­for­nia against San­ders. Clinton may de­clare her­self the party’s nom­i­nee be­fore the polls close there.

In Cal­i­for­nia, the big­gest elec­toral prize, Clinton once held a siz­able lead over San­ders, a se­na­tor from Ver­mont, but polls in re­cent days show a dead heat be­tween the two.

A loss to San­ders in Cal­i­for­nia could galvanize San­ders and his sup­port­ers to carry their in­sur­gency cam­paign all the way to the party’s nom­i­nat­ing con­ven­tion in July. A loss could also re­in­force the ar­gu­ment of Trump that Clinton is a weak­ened can­di­date.

Clinton has 2,357 del­e­gates go­ing into Tues­day’s con­tests, just 26 short of the 2,383 she needs to clinch the nom­i­na­tion at the con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia next month. Trump al­ready has se­cured the del­e­gates he needs to clinch the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for the Novem­ber 8 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Trump, how­ever, was on the de­fen­sive over com­ments about Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can US District Judge Gon­zalo Curiel, who is over­see­ing fraud law­suits against Trump Univer­sity, the New York busi­ness­man’s de­funct real es­tate school.

Trump has sug­gested that Curiel’s Mex­i­can her­itage was in­flu­enc­ing the judge’s opin­ion about the case be­cause Trump has cam­paigned on a plat­form of build­ing a wall along the US bor­der with Mex­ico to stop il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

“All I want to do is fig­ure out why I’m be­ing treated un­fairly by a judge. And a lot of peo­ple agree with it,” Trump said on Mon­day on the Fox News pro­gram Fox & Friends.

Clinton, who has de­nounced Trump’s com­ments about Curiel, has won the support of mi­nor­ity vot­ers in her race against San­ders and hoped for a strong show­ing in Cal­i­for­nia, the state with the largest Latino pop­u­la­tion.

Last week, the state re­ported that the tally of reg­is­tered vot­ers in Cal­i­for­nia was the high­est in his­tory at 18 mil­lion, with more than 650,000 reg­is­ter­ing in the past six weeks. Three out of ev­ery four new vot­ers was a Demo­crat.

In a speech in San Diego last week, Clinton at­tacked Trump on his na­tional se­cu­rity cre­den­tials, ar­gu­ing he lacked the tem­per­a­ment and knowl­edge to en­gage with other na­tions.

Clinton said Trump would be dan­ger­ous if left in charge of the na­tion’s nu­clear arse­nal, ar­gu­ing he could use them if of­fended be­cause he has “thin skin.”

The speech was praised by Democrats who said it could bol­ster Clinton’s ef­forts to show she could ef­fec­tively take on Trump in the gen­eral elec­tion. Even some Repub­li­cans said the speech hit a ma­jor vul­ner­a­bil­ity for Trump.

Trump, ap­pear­ing on CNN, re­sponded to Clinton’s at­tack.

“I don’t have thin skin. I have very strong, very thick skin,” Trump said. “I have a strong tem­per­a­ment, and it’s a very good tem­per­a­ment, and it’s a very in-con­trol tem­per­a­ment, or I wouldn’t have built this un­be­liev­able com­pany.”

The lat­est Reuters/Ip­sos track­ing poll shows Clinton with an 11-per­cent­age-point edge over Trump, 46 per­cent to 35%, a marked change from just 10 days ago, when fewer than 4 per­cent­age points sep­a­rated the two.

(Mike Blake/Stephen Lam/Reuters)

US DEMO­CRATIC pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clinton speaks dur­ing a cam­paign stop in Sacra­mento, Cal­i­for­nia, Sun­day. Right, Repub­li­can US pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump ad­dresses a cam­paign rally in Red­ding, Cal­i­for­nia, over the week­end.

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