Capitol Alert

Hillary Clinton declares victory before California polls close


Hillary Clinton, claiming victory in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary more than 30 minutes before polls in California closed, urged Democrats on Tuesday to look beyond the primary election to the “battle that awaits.”

Clinton’s speech came one day after the Associated Press, counting pledged delegates and superdelegates, declared the former secretary of state the nominee, the first woman to top the ticket of a major U.S. party.

In a speech steeped in history of the women’s rights movement, Clinton took after the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

“The stakes in this election are high, and the choice is clear,” she said at a victory party in Brooklyn. “Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president and commander in chief.”

Her remarks followed a victory in the New Jersey primary.

“Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone,” Clinton said. “The first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee.”

Before speaking, Clinton’s campaign put a new photograph of the candidate on Twitter, with the declaration, “History made.” Her speech came eight years after Clinton ended her primary campaign against then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Despite a lingering challenge from Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, Clinton has increasingly shifted her focus to Trump. Turning fully to the general election, her campaign said she will campaign next week in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Trump, meanwhile, said Tuesday that he will lay out a comprehensive case against Clinton in a “major speech,” likely Monday.

Clinton’s victory party came as Sanders, vowing to push forward with his insurgent campaign, awaited results in California. The Vermont senator has said he will try to shift superdelegates’ support away from Clinton before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

Earlier Tuesday, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said on MSNBC that Sanders will “intensify” his effort after Tuesday.

“Once we get past the part of this process where people are done voting in California and other states,” Weaver said, “then we’ll intensify the outreach to the superdelegates.”

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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