- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will crisscross California in coming days, with the state’s crucial primary election closing in.

The long presidential primary season is nearing its finale, when California and New Jersey are among the states that vote June 7. In California, home to 1 in 8 Americans, a trove of delegates is at stake.

Sanders and Clinton are tightly matched in the state, polls show, a competition highlighted by their repeated stops in California and heavy investment in campaign operations.

On Saturday, Sanders kicks off a Southern California swing, with rallies planned in National City, Vista and Irvine. He’s recently made stops in Carson and Stockton, a sign he’s encouraged by polls that show him trailing Clinton by single digits.

The former first lady, who carried California in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, is due back in the state next week. And husband Bill Clinton will be campaigning Saturday in Chula Vista and Pomona on behalf of his wife, with a string of other stops planned by the former president through Monday.

Trump - the presumptive Republican nominee - has planned a rally in San Diego on May 27.

Essentially, Trump is running against himself as the only remaining GOP candidate. But his vote tally in California will be closely watched - if he doesn’t break 50 percent, at minimum, it is likely to expose him to criticism he is failing to unite his party.

Meanwhile, other vanquished candidates’ names remain on the ballot, including Ted Cruz and John Kasich, so their supporters could register a protest vote and snub Trump.


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