Defying opinion polls and expert predictions, Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders aims to seize the party's White House nomination from Hillary Clinton's grasp with a last-ditch come-from-behind triumph in California.
By far the most populous U.S. state, California is the largest prize of the state-by-state nominating contests, and the vote on June 7 is one of the last before Democrats convene in July to select a nominee for the Nov. 8 presidential election.
An aggressive schedule of large rallies is planned along with heavy purchases of TV, radio and online advertising in three languages and a "far, far more expensive" campaign effort than in any other state, Sanders campaign sources disclosed.
The Sanders campaign push aims to net as much as a 10-point win in California, helping him deny the front-running Clinton the 2,383 convention delegates she needs to clinch the nomination and give him the momentum to force a contested convention where he can try to win over the "superdelegates," those not decided by a state nominating contest and free to support anyone, the campaign sources said.
Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, has eroded Clinton’s lead in California, according to a Field Poll released Friday. Clinton led Sanders by only 6 points in that survey, down from a double-digit lead earlier this year.
“With California what we’re going to do is something that (Sanders) really likes to do: Barnstorm the place,” said Tad Devine, Sanders' senior adviser, acknowledging Sanders' underdog status against Clinton, the former secretary of state.
That means two or three large-scale rallies a day for weeks, possibly starting in late April to target early voters and minorities, he said.