Hillary Clinton appeared poised on Tuesday to pad her pledged delegate lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with primary wins in California, New Jersey, South Dakota and New Mexico.
Clinton’s strong showing comes a day after the Associated Press and NBC News declared her the Democratic party’s presumptive nominee. That projection was based on the total of Clinton’s pledged delegates and superdelegates who say they will support her at July’s party convention.
The projection all but sealed the deal for Clinton. Her challenger Bernie Sanders could only hope for a miraculous recovery in Tuesday’s six state primaries and caucuses. He would also have needed a massive migration of Clinton-backing superdelegates to his camp.
But the slim chances of that happened grew even narrower with a decisive Clinton victory in New Jersey, which has 125 delegates, and California, which has 475.
Sanders was projected to win the North Dakota caucuses and Montana primary.
Headed into Tuesday’s contests, Clinton held 1,812 pledged delegates versus Sanders’ 1,521. The party’s nominee requires 2,383 delegates. With 572 unpledged delegates, or so-called superdelegates, Clinton had 2,384 total delegates heading into Tuesday’s contests.
In a sign that the Sanders campaign realizes its path the victory is virtually non-existent, it was moving to lay off half of its campaign staff, according to a report from The New York Times. He will head to Washington D.C. and meet with President Obama on Thursday.