- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sen. Bernard Sanders said Wednesday he thinks he has an “excellent chance” to win California next week, and said he expects to work on winning over superdelegates who might have made early commitments to likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I think we have an excellent chance to win California, and it is just possible that we might win it in a significant way,” Mr. Sanders told reporters in California.

“And if we win California, and if we win South Dakota, and North Dakota, and Montana, and New Mexico, and New Jersey … and [the] following week do well in Washington, D.C., I think we will be marching into the Democratic convention with an enormous amount of momentum,” he said.

California and those handful of states vote June 7, while D.C. votes June 14. The Democratic convention is in Philadelphia in July.

Mr. Sanders cited recent polling that showed him outperforming Mrs. Clinton in matchups against presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

“I think a lot of the delegates in Philadelphia are going to be scratching their heads, and I think some of them — hopefully a lot of them — will come to the conclusion that if we want to beat Donald Trump, and it is absolutely imperative for the future of this country that we defeat Donald Trump, that Bernie Sanders will be the candidate,” he said.

Mr. Sanders said that after June 7, he expects to be competing to win the June 14 D.C. primary and said he will also be talking to superdelegates — party officials who can support either candidate.

He said Mrs. Clinton won the support of more than 400 superdelegates “before anybody else was in the campaign.”

“Now frankly, that is absurd — an absurd process,” he said. “And I think there are people all across the Democratic political spectrum who are beginning to understand that that process of superdelegates declaring for a candidate eight months before the first ballot is cast in the nominating process makes no sense.

“Because you don’t know what happens in the campaign,” he said.

He said he would ask superdelegates to “please listen to the voters in your own state.”

He also said he would hope the superdelegates who threw their support to Mrs. Clinton early on will think hard about “which candidate for the Democratic nomination is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump.”

Mr. Sanders said that beyond polls, his campaign has energized new people.

“It is our campaign that has the energy and the enthusiasm,” he said. “And what that translates to is the fact that Republicans win elections when people are demoralized and don’t come out to vote.”

“Progressives and Democrats win elections when there is excitement, when there is energy — when people who sometimes don’t vote will come out to vote,” he said.

The AP’s latest delegate tally put Mrs. Clinton at 2,312 delegates — 71 short of the 2,383 necessary to clinch the nomination — and Mr. Sanders at 1,545. Those totals include both pledged delegates and superdelegates.

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