The Associated Press reported Monday evening that Hillary Clinton has amassed enough delegates to the Democratic National Convention to be assured the party's nomination. How many superdelegates does Hillary Clinton have, according to the AP's count? For now, their best guess is nearly 600.
The count is based on AP's approximation of the number of pledged delegates and superdelegate support that Clinton has earned to date. Currently, she holds 1,812 pledged delegates, but there are still several states who have not yet voted, including California, New Jersey, and New Mexico, as well as a number of caucus states who have yet to finalize their delegations to the DNC. This means that Bernie Sanders could still snag the nomination, however, the AP believes that Clinton is in possession of the 2,383 delegates needed to officially win in July. According to their estimation, 571 of the delegates supporting her campaign are of the superdelegate variety.
The Associated Press is a media cooperative that has no formal ties to the Democratic National Committee, so their statement declaring Clinton to be the presumptive Democratic nominee remains at best an educated guess until the chair of the party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, gavels in the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 25.
Superdelegates, or unpledged party leaders and elected officials in political jargon, are free to vote however they please, and though some have placed their allegiance with Clinton, they can still change their minds at any time before the final vote is conducted.
In the 2008 election cycle against Barack Obama, for much of the early part of the race, Clinton claimed the broad backing of most of the superdelegate contingency. In that contest, though, a trickle of superdelegates began defecting away from Clinton by the beginning of March of that year. That same month, Obama raised $40 million to her $20 million, demonstrating a clear institutional fundraising advantage over the then-Senator from New York. Obama had already made history the month before with a then-record $55 million haul for February 2008.
With the basic fundamentals of the Democratic primary different from what Clinton and Obama were facing in 2008, Sanders and his supporters wouldn't have been counting on a mass defection of superdelegate support, no matter how much the grassroots was able to raise. However, that isn't to say that there won't be a mass defection of superdelegates away from Clinton at some point this summer.
The former Secretary of State remains under an F.B.I. investigation for improper use of unauthorized technologies during her tenure as Secretary of State. Over 30,000 emails from her time at Foggy Bottom remain unaccounted for, in direct violation of federal record-keeping guidelines. If Clinton's situation with the feds grow more perilous, watch to see if superdelegates make the jump over to the Sanders side.