Sunday 4 December 2016

Democratic rivals jostle for momentum heading into New York primary

Published 10/04/2016 | 01:06

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters in the Brooklyn borough of New York (AP)
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters in the Brooklyn borough of New York (AP)

Bernie Sanders is pointing to his growing string of statewide wins and Hillary Clinton to her still-commanding lead in the delegate hunt as the Democratic rivals jostle for momentum heading into New York's big primary later this month.

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The Republicans, too, are trying to scoop up delegates out West while bidding for some New York love.

With his win on Saturday in Wyoming, Sanders has now won seven of the last eight state contests. But his latest victory did nothing to help him in the delegate chase: he and Clinton each got seven delegates.

"Now that we are in the second half of this campaign, we are going to state after state which I think have a more progressive outlook," Sanders said. "We are in this race to win."

Clinton, looking right past the Wyoming results, told a crowd in Brooklyn that she needs a big win in New York on April 19 to help her quickly lock up the Democratic nomination. She added that the sooner the nomination fight ends, "the sooner we can go after the Republicans full time".

Trying to claim a cloak of inevitability for his candidate, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement that she "has a nearly insurmountable lead in pledged delegates that will become harder and harder to overcome after each contest".

On the Republicans' side, Texas senator Ted Cruz completed his sweep of Colorado's 34 delegates by locking up the remaining 13 at the party's state convention in Colorado Springs. He already had collected 21 delegates and visited the state to try to pad his numbers there.

Trump organised late in Colorado and left the state convention up to his organisers, and spent about half an hour on Saturday touring the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan.

He and Clinton found a rare point of agreement in poking back at Cruz for his earlier criticism of "New York values."

Trump's campaign said in a statement after his museum visit that the site was "symbolic of the strength of our country, and in particular New Yorkers, who have done such an incredible job rebuilding that devastated section of our city. This is what 'New York values' are really all about."

Clinton, for her part, told a Latino crowd in Brooklyn, that "I actually think New York values are really good for America".

Her agreement with Trump ended right there, as she launched into an argument for electing Democrats to protect the US economy.

"It's a fact that our economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House," she said.

Clinton has 1,287 delegates based on primaries and caucuses to Sanders' 1,037. When including superdelegates, or party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton has 1,756, or 74% of the number needed to clinch the nomination. Sanders has 1,068.

Trump still has a narrow path to clinching the Republican nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7, but he has little room for error. He would need to win nearly 60% of all the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination before the convention. So far, he is winning about 45%.

Following Cruz's sweep of Colorado's remaining delegates on Saturday, the Associated Press count stands at Trump 743, Cruz 545, and John Kasich 143. Marco Rubio, who suspended his campaign, has 171 delegates. To clinch the nomination by the end of the primaries, a candidate needs 1,237 delegates.

Press Association

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