With “a burst of last-minute support from superdelegates,” Hillary Clinton has crossed the threshold of 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination, the Associated Press reported late Monday.
The feat was immediately contested by the campaign of Clinton rival Bernie Sanders, which said in a statement to the AP that Clinton had not reached the 2,383 target through pledged delegates alone, and that Sanders would continue to campaign through the Democratic convention in July.
Clinton appeared to have collected at least two dozen superdelegate commitments late in the day, after climbing to 2,360 delegates in contests over the weekend in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook downplayed the breakthrough, pointing to the six Democratic contests on Tuesday.
“This is an important milestone, but there are six states that are voting Tuesday, with millions of people heading to the polls, and Hillary Clinton is working to earn every vote,” Mook said in a statement. “We look forward to Tuesday night, when Hillary Clinton will clinch not only a win in the popular vote, but also the majority of pledged delegates.”
Clinton had said that she expected to clear the “historic” hurdle making her the first female presidential nominee of a major political party sometime on Tuesday evening, after results began to come in from Democratic contests in six states.
Clinton appears extremely likely to amass a majority of pledged delegates on Tuesday, even if she underperforms the polls. With 1,812 pledged delegates currently in her corner, she is just 214 short of the mark, with about 700 delegates to be awarded Tuesday.
The former secretary of state has long been conscious of the historic nature of her candidacy and famously talked about it in her 2008 concession speech when she lost the Democratic primary to another historic candidate, Barack Obama.
“Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time,” said Clinton. Two women, Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008, had previously been nominated to serve as vice president.