Sen. Bernard Sanders claimed victory in Oregon on Tuesday night and redoubled his attacks against rival Hillary Clinton, saying the Democratic Party’s very future is at stake in this primary election.
Speaking to supporters in Carson, California, as the Oregon results came in, the Vermont senator said the party must embrace his message and his supporters, and must fight to win back the blue-collar workers Republican Donald Trump has won over the past 12 months.
“The Democratic Party is going to have to make a very, very profound and important decision. It can do the right thing and open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change,” Mr. Sanders said. “I come from the working class of this country and I will be damned if we allow the Republican Party, whose job it is to represent the rich and powerful, to win the votes of working-class Americans.”
Mr. Sanders also blasted Mrs. Clinton for her reliance on Wall Street donations, super PACs, her support for a $12-per-hour federal minimum wage rather than $15 an hour and on other specific issues.
He also predicted that he’ll win the California primary on June 7.
“Don’t tell Secretary Clinton. She might get nervous. I think we’re going to win here in California,” he said.
In Oregon, networks called the race just after 11:30 p.m. With about 66 percent of the vote in, Mr. Sanders led Mrs. Clinton 53 percent to 47 percent.
The Oregon result comes after Mrs. Clinton edged out a narrow win in the Kentucky primary, ending Mr. Sanders’ winning streak and reclaiming some of the momentum in the race.
Still, the results in Oregon or Kentucky do little to change the trajectory of the race overall.
Heading into Tuesday’s contests, Mrs. Clinton held a big lead in the delegate count — a lead that seems to be insurmountable, regardless of how the rest of the party primaries play out.
Among pledged delegates, Mrs. Clinton led Mr. Sanders 1,716 to 1,433. Among superdelegates — party officials free to support either candidate — she holds a massive advantage, 524 to 40.
Because of the party’s proportional allocation rules, the two candidates will split delegates after Tuesday’s races.
Mr. Sanders has vowed to stay in the race until the party convention in July.