Hillary Clinton made history Tuesday with a victory in New Jersey's Democratic primary, securing enough pledged delegates and superdelegates to become the first woman to win a major party’s presidential nominee.
The win comes a day after The Associated Press declared her the presumptive Democratic nominee, after reporters canvassed undeclared superdelegates and found enough publicly voiced their support for Clinton ahead of Tuesday’s vote to put her over the “magic number” of 2,383 delegates. Nearly 700 delegates were at stake in six Democratic primaries Tuesday, with the biggest prize with California’s 475.
Polls in California closed at 8 p.m. local time, and results were not available at press. However, that state could hold the key to whether Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to contest the Democratic nomination. Polls showed the race between him and Clinton was a dead heat, and a Sanders’ victory could help make his case that declared superdelegates be free to vote for either candidate at the national convention in Philadelphia in July.
As of 9:30 p.m. Clinton had 59.4 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 40.6 percent in New Jersey, with about 24 percent of the preccincts reporting, according to CNN.
“We are on the brink of a historic moment, but we still have work to do,” Clinton wrote in a tweet. “To everyone who’s worked so hard, thank you. Let’s go win this thing.”
Despite the daunting delegate numbers, Sanders refused to concede the nomination to his rival.
"Our goal is to get as many delegates as we possibly can and to make the case to superdelegates that I believe the evidence is fairly strong that I am the strongest candidate," Sanders said during a press conference Monday.
While the campaign has said it will continue to try and sway superdelegates to support Sanders, none have yet decided to do so, Sanders’s campaign manager Jeff Weaver acknowledged on MSNBC Tuesday afternoon.
Barring a seemingly improbable large-scale switch among the party’s superdelegates, Clinton would seem to have the nomination on lockdown -- a development that allows her to pivot her messaging and campaign to target the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
Trump -- under fire from Democrats, Hispanics and his own party this week for comments he made questioning the impartiality of a federal judge presiding over two fraud class-action lawsuits involving his defunct Trump University because of his Mexican heritage -- held a news conference earlier Tuesday at which he claimed his comments had been “misconstrued."
Trump again blamed the media, claiming inaccuracies had been reported, but continued to accused Judge Gonzalo Curiel of treating him unfairly.
"You've given me the honor to lead the Republican Party this fall," Trump told supporters at one of his golf courses in Briarcliff, New York Tuesday night. "I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle, and I will never, ever let you down."
Trump also extended an olive branch to Bernie Sanders supporters, saying his campaign would “welcome...with open arms” those who were “left out in the cold by a rigged system.”
"We can't solve our problems by relying on the politicians who created our problems,” he added.
Trump also went after both Hillary and Bill Clinton in his speech, accusing the couple of turning “the politics of enrichment into an art form for themselves.” The New York real estate magnate said he would be giving a speech expanding his attacks on the now democratic presumptive nominee next Monday.
The last primary before the conventions will be a Democratic primary in Washington, D.C. on June 14.