Sanders camp: Race will hinge on superdelegates

Getty Images

Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump can still win Apathy: The real risk a Trump presidency poses to democracy Clinton to campaign in Arizona days before election MORE's Democratic presidential campaign believes that neither he nor Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonJohnson takes advantage of FBI review: There is a third option in every state Biden: No interest in serving in Clinton's cabinet Limbaugh: FBI wants focus off WikiLeaks MORE will be able to win the nomination solely with delegates won at the polls, leaving it effectively up to the party's superdelegates.

"I think it’s clear now to anyone that knows how to count delegates that neither candidate, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, is going to win a majority of the delegates to the Democratic convention with just pledged delegates. Bernie has effectively precluded Hillary from doing that," top Sanders aide Tad Devine told reporters on a Monday call.

“Both candidates are going to have to win the nomination not only with [pledged delegates], but also with party leaders and elected officials."

Devine and other Sanders aides argued that the campaign is in good shape to flip party superdelegates who have largely supported Clinton because she is a "weak" front-runner who can't excite the base.

"She's emerged as a weak front-runner, her grasp now on the nomination is almost entirely on the basis of victories in states where Bernie did not compete," Devine said.

Campaign pollster Ben Tulchin listed a lack of enthusiasm and high negatives as warning signs of Clinton's general election prospects while arguing that there's an "overwhelming preponderance of evidence" that shows Sanders to be the stronger candidate in November.

That's the pitch that Devine said the campaign is making to superdelegates they hope will cross over.

He also noted that the campaign has "dozens" of superdelegates supporting Sanders, adding that advisers are "going to find the right time in the process to make that support public."

Clinton currently leads Sanders among pledged delegates by a margin of 1,243 to 975. That lead balloons when the former first lady's current success among superdelegates is added in — Clinton has won more than 90 percent of the almost 500 party leaders that have expressed there support. About 200 others remain uncommitted.

In total, that gives her a lead of 1,712 to 1,004, according to The Associated Press.

The Sanders camp also announced during the call that it has raised almost $4 million since its weekend victories in Washington, Hawaii and Alaska.

"Reports of our death are extremely exaggerated," campaign manager Jeff Weaver said. "Our grassroots funding has been tremendously strong."