Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has a canceled campaign event in New Jersey and will be rushing back to California this week to hold off a late surge by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
The Washington Post‘s Abby Phillip reports that Clinton intends to return to the campaign trail in California on Thursday, and to campaign continuously in the state through the primary on Tuesday — though most votes will already have been cast by mail.
NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton has upended her campaign schedule, adding more stops in California, in an effort to prevent an embarrassing loss there to Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Clinton originally planned to campaign for two days this week in New Jersey, but at the last minute canceled an event on Thursday and will instead return to California for a five-day swing.
The schedule change comes as Sanders has barnstormed California, not leaving the state in more than a week. Meanwhile, a recent poll found the race closing significantly. Clinton’s lead over Sanders had narrowed to just two points.
Details are scarce, but Clinton now plans to hold events in California from Thursday until the day before the state’s June 7 primary.
Clinton, needing fewer than 100 delegates to reach a majority, is almost certain to clinch the Democratic nomination on June 7, even if she loses California. But the political damage caused by losing California could hurt — or even halt — her campaign.
In the background is the symbolic importance of California for Democrats in the last year when the Golden State played a role in deciding the party’s nomination — namely, 1968, when Robert F. Kennedy crossed the threshold, only to be assassinated mere minutes later by a Palestinian named Sirhan Sirhan.
For Clinton, clinching the nomination by winning California would represent the party coming full circle from its troubled, radical days of the late 1960s.
For Sanders, denying Clinton a victory lap would represent the best chance of re-creating the chaos of the Chicago Democratic National Convention of 1968 on the convention floor in Philadelphia this July — and possibly in the streets outside as well.
Sanders has been campaigning at a grueling pace, drawing large rally crowds from Southern California to the Central Valley to the Bay Area and beyond. He has also taken the time to meet with farm workers, union members, and representatives of the black and Latino communities.
With momentum pointing towards a possible Sanders win — Breitbart News has already predicted he will win more delegates on July 7 — the only question is whether Clinton has more to lose by trying hard and failing, or by staying away and letting Sanders have what she hopes would be a last hurrah.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.