Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE has secured the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination for president, according to a count kept by The Associated Press.
The AP announced Clinton had hit the magic number on Monday night, one day before California and five other states hold primaries.
It's a historic moment for Clinton, who will become the first woman to be the presidential nominee of a major political party.
She would secure the nomination 8 years after falling to Barack Obama in the 2008 primary. In fact, the AP announcement came nearly 8 years to the day she bowed out of the 2008 race, later saying she had left "18 million cracks" in the nation's highest glass ceiling.
“According to the news, we are on the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment, but we still have work to do,” Clinton said at the start of a Monday rally in Long Beach, Calif., shortly after the AP made the call.
Clinton is in the midst of a tough primary against Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Democrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' MORE, who has yet to give up the race despite trailing Clinton by a wide margin in total votes, pledged delegates and superdelegates — the party officials who have unbound votes at the Democratic National Convention.
Sanders has argued that no one can be declared the winner until next month's convention in Philadelphia, when superdelegates will formally cast their votes. His campaign ripped the AP for calling the race.
“It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgment, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee’s clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer,” the Sanders campaign said in a statement.
“Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination," it continued. "She will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then. They include more than 400 superdelegates who endorsed Secretary Clinton 10 months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race.
“Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE.”
Sanders and Clinton are locked in a tight race in California, where Sanders was hoping for a victory that could stoke excitement for his campaign. Clinton, however, appears poised for a big victory early on Tuesday in New Jersey.
The AP's announcement could affect turnout in California and the other states voting on Tuesday, though it is not clear who that could benefit or hurt. Both campaigns are doing everything they can to get their supporters to the polls, but media calls that Clinton has already won could supress turnout for either candidate — or both.
Clinton's campaign in its statement cautioned that the results were not a done deal.
"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,” campaign manager Robby 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 has signaled an eagerness in recent weeks to completely pivot to the general election against presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, who is dealing with serious fallout from the latest racially charged controversy for his campaign.
Trump's comments that the judge overseeing lawsuits against Trump University is biased against him because of his Mexican heritage has sparked outrage in his own party, with Republicans calling for him to apologize. He has refused to, and indeed doubled down in a private call to supporters on Monday, according to a report in Bloomberg Politics.
Democrats see signs of vulnerability for Trump and the GOP, which is worried their presidential candidate could be a drag down the ballot.
Clinton ripped into Trump's credentials for the presidency like never before in a speech last week in San Diego that excited her supporters.
President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOur remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Chelsea Manning tests positive for COVID-19 MORE is also eager to get off the sidelines and formally back Clinton. He could endorse Clinton as early as this week and held a phone call over the weekend with Sanders.
Sanders is expected to push for liberal positions in the Democratic Party platform, and one group alligned with his positions on Monday called for the party to unify.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has not endorsed a candidate, released a statement Monday night urging the party to look ahead to November.
“The way to unify millions of Sanders and Clinton supporters and inspire general election voters is to unite the party behind a truly bold progressive platform.”
Polls currently show Clinton and Trump locked in a tight battle for the White House. Clinton allies hope that her lead will grow as Sanders supporters begin to fall in line, but that’s no guarantee considering the tough rhetoric from the candidate and his voters, as well as continued clashes and accusations lobbed by the two sides.
This is not welcome news to many inside HRC's world who were worried a call will depress turnout in CA and NJ. https://t.co/WdwX8JfJAx— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) June 7, 2016
NBC News announced shortly before 9 p.m. that it would begin calling Clinton the Democrat’s presumptive presidential nominee.
Lisa Hagen contributed.
Updated 9:02 a.m.