Is California The Only Primary Left? Not So Fast, Guys, It Isn't Over Yet
The 2016 primary season is nearing the finish line. Donald Trump is, barring an unlikely last-minute voter revolt, almost guaranteed to be the Republican nominee, while Sen. Bernie Sanders continues his effort to overcome Sec. Hillary Clinton's formidable delegate lead. The candidates and media are turning their attention to the massive-delegate state of California, which holds its primaries on June 7. Is California the only primary left?
Not even. Washington held its Republican primary on Tuesday, after which four more states will hold their contests for the Republican nomination on the same day as California: Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. The Democrats have a bit more going on in June. The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will hold their contests on June 4 and June 5, respectively. In addition to California and the four states holding Republican primaries on June 7, North Dakota will also hold its Democratic contest. Finally, Washington, D.C.'s Democratic primary wraps it all up on June 14.
So, in total, there are five states including California left to vote for the Republican nominee, and nine races total remaining for the Democratic candidates. But it's no surprise that California is taking the spotlight: The majority of the delegates left to be won are from the Golden State.
Ballotpedia shows that there are 781 pledged Democratic delegates still up for grabs; California has 475 delegates. As for the Republicans, 303 delegates are left after Washington. California is packing 172 of them.
Trump will almost certainly get the last handfuls of delegates he needs on June 7 with the help of California's big haul, but the day holds a lot more suspense for the Democratic candidates. Sanders has been fighting a steady delegate gap ranging from about 250 to 300 for most of the primaries; he's banking on a great California performance, along with strong showings in the other remaining races, to close and overcome the gap.
ABC News reported that Sanders' campaign invested $1.5 million in ads in the Golden State and will be holding big rallies, in typical fashion, to boost his chances. If polling in the state is accurate, he needs a boost: Real Clear Politics' polling average shows Clinton with a 9.5 percent lead in the state. Sanders would likely need a massive win in California to have a chance of overtaking Clinton, so he has his work cut out for him.
California isn't the only primary left, but, in terms of delegate numbers, it's definitely the most important for deciding the nominations.