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Hillary Clinton wins California primary

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters as she arrives to speak during a presidential primary election night rally, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in New York. (Julie Jacobson / Associated Press)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters as she arrives to speak during a presidential primary election night rally, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in New York. (Julie Jacobson / Associated Press)
By Elizabeth Koh and David Siders Tribune News Service

Hillary Clinton has won Tuesday night’s Democratic primary in California, according to the Associated Press and news networks.

The win hands Clinton the nation’s most populous, delegate-rich state and cements her nomination, which she clinched earlier this week. Clinton had been leading comfortably in the state 62 percent to 37 percent as votes were being counted, though her rival Sen. Bernie Sanders still vowed to “continue the fight” through next week’s primaries in the District of Columbia and the party convention in Philadelphia in July.

At her victory party in New York before California’s results were announced, Clinton, now the first woman to lead a major party ticket, urged Democrats to prepare for the general election. She congratulated Sanders on a hard-fought primary and set up the challenge against Donald Trump, who she said is “temperamentally unfit” for the presidency.

“He’s not just trying to build a wall between America and Mexico,” she said. “He’s trying to wall off Americans from each other. When he says, ‘Let’s make America great again,’ that is code for, ‘Let’s take America backwards.’”

Sanders, who despite mounting a strong primary challenge fell behind in both pledged delegates and the popular vote, had hoped a win in California could help persuade superdelegates to switch their support to his candidacy. Several polls had shown Clinton and Sanders in a virtual tie leading up to the primary. But Clinton, seeking to head off a loss, campaigned exclusively in the Golden State in the days leading up to Tuesday, contributing to her win.

Sanders, in his speech Tuesday night, said “the struggle continues,” promising supporters to keep fighting for his agenda of economic justice up to the party’s convention.

“I know that the fight in front of us is a very, very steep fight, but we will continue to fight for every vote and every delegate we can get,” he said.

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