UDPATE: 6:25 a.m. EDT — Hillary Clinton has won the California Democratic primary, winning 56 percent of the votes to rival Bernie Sanders' 43 percent with 92 percent of the votes counted, the Associated Press reported.
Clinton had already cemented her claim as the presumptive Democratic nominee with victories in New Jersey, South Dakota and New Mexico. Sanders, who has vowed to fight on, won Montana and North Dakota.
UDPATE: 2:15 a.m. EDT — Bernie Sanders has won the Montana Democratic primary, according to a projection by the Associated Press (AP). With 78 percent of the votes counted, the Vermont senator leads rival Hillary Clinton 50 percent to 45 percent.
We are in this TOGETHER. Thank you New Mexico, California, South Dakota, North Dakota, New Jersey and Montana! #NotMeUs
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 8, 2016
Of the 21 pledged delegates at stake, Sanders has won 10 while Clinton has won 9. The state’s six superdelegates have yet to announce their support. However, the victory will do little to bridge the insurmountable gap between Sanders and Clinton — who, according to an AP projection, already has the support of the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic Party’s nomination in July.
UPDATE: 11:54 p.m. EDT — Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama spoke briefly late Tuesday night and he congratulated her on her historic achievement becoming the first woman to lead a major political party's presidential ballot. Obama also reportedly called Clinton's rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has not yet spoken publicly about the primary results.
ABC News reported an exclusive story Tuesday night saying Clinton and Obama were expected to meet after her speech. The news article was published shortly before Clinton was projected to win the South Dakota Democratic presidential primary.
“We were supposed to talk tonight, but we haven’t yet connected,” Clinton told ABC News from Brooklyn, New York, ahead of her historic speech during which she claimed the nomination. “We’ll probably do it later tonight.” She was right.
Obama still has not offered his formal endorsement for any candidate, though all of that is expected to happen soon, especially with Clinton's continued primary wins. Sanders won Tuesday night's North Dakota caucus.
Sanders is expected to be in Washington later this week, and he and Obama reportedly agreed to meet there Thursday.
UPDATE: 11:28 p.m. EDT — Donald Trump has been projected to win the California primary. All of the Golden State's 172 Republican delegates are awarded on a winner-take-all basis, allowing the real estate mogul to add them to his total of delegates that has already exceeded the 1,237 needed to clinch the nomination. Trump has been running unopposed since Ohio Gov. John Kasich suspended his campaign early last month.
Meanwhile, the South Dakota Democratic primary was in a veritable deadlock, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. The contest between presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, was apparently just too close to call. There are 20 delegates at stake in South Dakota.
UPDATE: 11:15 p.m. EDT — Hillary Clinton claimed another primary victory Tuesday night when she was projected to win the New Mexico Democratic contest, which has 34 delegates at stake. While the Democratic results were still out for both the Montana and South Dakota primaries, all eyes were on the California returns.
California holds 475 delegates, most of which Sanders was looking to win in hopes of forcing a contested convention. But Clinton claimed the Democratic nomination Tuesday in a triumphal speech that highlighted the historic nature of her campaign, which propelled her to become the first woman to lead a major party's presidential ballot.
NBC News would later go on to verify Clinton's claim that she won "a majority of pledged delegates."
Thus far during Tuesday night's elections, Clinton has won 87 delegates to Sanders' 66.
UPDATE: 10:58 p.m. EDT — Donald Trump has been projected to win the Montana Republican primary, a result that was a given considering he is running unopposed.
Meanwhile, the Green Party’s presidential candidate seemed to acknowledge what Bernie Sanders’ campaign may be on the verge of admitting, that the Vermont senator will not win the Democratic presidential nominee. Because of that, Dr. Jill Stein’s “offer to collaborate” with Sanders still stands, Stein tweeted shortly after Clinton ended her speech Tuesday night that all but accepted the Democratic nomination.
Clinton’s speech highlighted the progress of women and how they continue to shatter glass ceilings. The sentiment no doubt prompted pride across the Democratic Party, especially its women members.
UPDATE: 10:33 p.m. EDT — Before Hillary Clinton took the stage in Brooklyn, New York, on Tuesday night, she walked through the crowd shaking hands and giving high fives to supporters in attendance. It was a fitting entrance — a veritable victory lap — considering her address was in essence a victory speech for winning the presidential nomination. And the significance of the moment was lost neither upon her nor those in the crowd.
“We are all standing under a glass ceiling right now,” Clinton said in apparent reference to her nomination being a historic moment for women in particular. “Don’t worry, we’re not smashing this one.”
She continued: “We’ve reached a milestone” — “it's the first time in our nation's history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee,” Clinton said to thunderous applause.
After boasting of “a majority of pledged delegates,” Clinton quickly turned toward uniting the Democratic Party, which has been all but split between her and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. She called Sanders' effort an “extraordinary campaign” that has excited “millions of voters, especially young people.”
Because of that, Clinton said, “We all need to keep working toward a better, fairer, stronger America” and, ahead of the general election, “let’s remember all that unites us.”
Of course, she saved some vitriol for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, saying unequivocally that “Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief.”
UPDATE: 10:19 p.m. EDT — Donald Trump’s speech Tuesday night came before and competed with Hillary Clinton’s own speech, scheduled to be delivered at a later hour. But one person in particular thought there was no contest at all. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus said Trump’s speech was “exactly the right approach and perfectly delivered.”
Of course, not everyone agreed with that sentiment, as Trump had a couple of flubs in the speech, including referring to the TPP – an abbreviation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal – as the PPP.
UPDATE: 10:01 p.m. EDT — People in attendance at Hillary Clinton’s rally Tuesday night in Brooklyn have been cheering – and booing – as the night’s primary results were announced over the loudspeaker. The crowd rejoiced when it was announced that Clinton won the New Jersey Democratic primary, where 126 delegates were up for grabs.
But when it was announced that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont won the North Dakota Democratic caucus, the audience also didn’t hesitate to let their feelings be known.
In its collective enthusiasm, the crowd may not have been aware that Sanders’ campaign was on the verge of laying off “at least half his campaign staff Wednesday,” the New York Times reported. That could be an indication that Sanders intends to cede his candidacy to Clinton, who is expected to claim victory Tuesday night during the rally.
UPDATE: 9:40 p.m. EDT — CNN has projected U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont as the winner of the North Dakota Democratic presidential caucuses, which keeps Sanders' hopes alive for forcing a contested convention. But with his rival Hillary Clinton’s win Tuesday night in New Jersey, where 126 delegates were at stake, his bid for the White House would seem to be increasingly in doubt.
So much so, in fact, that officials from both Democratic campaigns are reportedly “talking about party unity,” according to a tweet from a BuzzFeed White House reporter.
In yet another indication that Clinton is poised to claim victory over the Democratic primary season, her campaign recently changed its Twitter profile picture to something that can be classified as anything but subtle in its intentions.
UPDATE: 9:28 p.m. EDT — Donald Trump has been projected to win the South Dakota Republican presidential primary, according to Politico. There were 29 GOP delegates up for grabs there. Trump has also been projected as the winner of the Republican primary in New Mexico, where he was competing for the state's 24 delegates. Trump, it should be noted, is running unopposed.
Trump, who just finished delivering a speech from suburban New York City, and his campaign apparently prevented at least one veteran reporter from covering the event.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, tweeted something of a preview of her prepared remarks for Tuesday night by telling “every little girl who dreams big” that her dreams can come true. The sentiment appeared to foreshadow what is expected to be a victory speech where Clinton acknowledges she has all but clinched her party’s presidential nomination.
UPDATE: 9:13 p.m. EDT — Donald Trump took the stage at his suburban New York City rally Tuesday night to all but accept the Republican presidential nomination. Flanked by his family, Trump promptly proclaimed he’s won the party’s primaries.
“You’ve given me the honor to lead the Republican Party to victory this fall,” he said. “I will never, ever let you down.”
Citing what he said were recent polls have showing he’s beating Clinton, Trump added that “we expect our lead to continue to grow — and grow substantially.”
He thanked everyone who voted for him through the campaign and then spoke directly to those who didn’t, insisting, “I’ll work hard to earn your support.” For supporters of Bernie Sanders, who Trump said have been “left out in the cold by a rigged system of superdelegates, we welcome you with open arms.”
In an apparent nod to Clinton’s foreign policy speech last week that painted Trump as eager to start foreign wars, Trump said, “My preference is always peace.” But, he said, “if I’m forced to fight for something I really, really care about I will never back down.”
He said he would give a major speech targeting the Clintons “next week” that he thinks people will find “very interesting.”
UPDATE: 8:49 p.m. EDT — Donald Trump has told Fox News host Sean Hannity that Republicans who condemn his comments aimed at a Hispanic federal judge "have to get over it." Trump previously questioned U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel's ability to be impartial in presiding over lawsuits against Trump University. In particular, Trump was concerned that Curiel, who is of Mexican heritage but was born in Indiana, might be influenced by the real estate mogul's proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border to stem illegal immigration.
Trump warned in his comments to Hannity that Republicans who oppose him may eventually reach the point of no return. "They can't come back," he said before offering some advice: "They shouldn't be so angry for so long."
Meanwhile, the polls in New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota have officially closed, though not enough returns are in to call those primary races.
UPDATE: 8:21 p.m. EDT — Hillary Clinton has won the New Jersey Democratic primary, Reuters reported. The projected win over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont lends more weight to Clinton's campaign touting its candidate as the nominee. Sanders, however, is holding out hope that he can win the California primary and ultimately force a contested Democratic convention.
There are 126 New Jersey delegates up for grabs for the Democrats, but it was immediately unclear how many of them Clinton would add to her already nearly insurmountable lead of 2,357 delegates, including 548 superdelegates. Sanders has 1,566 delegates total. Each is trying to reach the magic number of 2,383 needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.
For the Republicans, Donald Trump has been projected to win the New Jersey GOP primary, according to Politico.
UPDATE: 8:21 p.m. EDT — Donald Trump is to deliver an address to the nation at 9 p.m. EDT during which he is expected to tout his presumed Republican presidential nomination. Photos taken from before the event starts indicates that the New York businessman will stray from his tried and true approach to delivering speeches and read from a Teleprompter at the event at a Trump golf club in Westchester County, New York.
Meanwhile, just a few miles south of Trump's event in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, Hillary Clinton's staff was busy preparing for her own speech and rally.
Polls in New Jersey have recently closed, but with this round of primary votes being devoid of exit polling, there is no early indication of who will emerge victorious.
UPDATE: 8:05 p.m. EDT — The polls in New Jersey have officially closed, with most major media outlets indicating that zero voting precincts in the state are reporting their results. However, Fox News tweeted out shortly after 8 p.m. EDT that it projected Hillary Clinton to be the winner of the Democratic primary there.
CNN showed that Clinton was enjoying a narrow lead over rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Clinton is scheduled to give a victory speech later Tuesday night while Sanders has scheduled his own rally in California to help convince his supporters he still has a path to the party's nomination.
UPDATE: 7:35 p.m. EDT — Four males are reportedly being held by the San Jose Police Department on supicion of vandalism last month at a Donald Trump rally in Costa Mesa, California. Two of the people being held are teenagers, the Los Angeles Times reported. They are accused of vandalizing a police car, including kicking in its door and writing on another cruiser.
"The Costa Mesa Police Department continues to vigorously pursue investigative leads to identify and hold the responsible parties accountable for their involvement in the activities which occurred after the Trump rally in Costa Mesa," the department said in a statement.
Police released the mugshots of the suspects, three of whom have reportedly been charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
UPDATE: 6:52 p.m. EDT — Hillary Clinton is to deliver what may very well amount to a victory speech Tuesday night at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City, according to reports. Her Democratic primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is expected to hold an event of his own hours later in California, where it is likely he will say Clinton has not won the party's nomination.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's campaign released a video early Tuesday evening hinting at the historic nature of what she is on the brink of accomplishing if she receives her party's nomination. She would become the first woman to lead a major party's presidential ticket. "If America's going to lead, we need to learn from the women of the world who have blazed new paths," Clinton can be heard saying as the video begins.
UPDATE: 6:35 p.m. EDT — More than 6,000 former felons in Virginia are now fully registered to vote following Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s landmark order restoring the right to vote for people who were previously incarcerated but have since paid their debts to society.
A reporter for WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, Virginia, broke the news with a tweet.
It was unclear if that recent development helped to change the plans of Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose campaign was headed to the nation’s capital, which is Virginia’s neighbor. The Vermonter had previously announced that he would head back to Burlington to “assess” his bid for the White House.
UPDATE: 5:47 p.m. EDT — The man who has been called "America's toughest sheriff" refused Tuesday to say outright that Donald Trump's comments about a federal judge were racist. Instead, Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio seemed to be at a loss of his typical inflammatory words when asked about Trump's characterization of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel as being potentially biased in presiding over two lawsuits against Trump University, Politico reported.
Still, Arpaio didn't back down from his ardent support for the New York real estate mogul.
“He's a type of guy that speaks out,” said Arpaio, before continuing. “Sometimes his words are twisted. ... At least he has the guts to speak out and back up what he says. He may want to change here and there, but we need a guy that is brave.”
Arpaio has for years been under scrutiny for his policies regarding undocumented immigrants. Arpaio was just weeks ago found to be in contempt of court for not discontinuing his department's practice of racial profiling. As a result, he is facing a court order to pay at least $1,000 to each person his department illegally detained. A federal judge delayed a ruling Tuesday on whether Arpaio would be charged with contempt of court, Raw Story reported.
UPDATE: 5:17 p.m. EDT — Jeb Bush has joined the chorus of prominent Republicans condemning Donald Trump's comments about an American judge of Mexican heritage. The former Florida governor and presidential candidate, who sparred with Trump during the early campaign season before bowing, out tweeted in part that "there is no place for racism in the GOP, or this country."
Bush's comment follows those of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., among others, who have reacted to Trump questioning whether U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel would have a conflict of interest presiding over a lawsuit that alleges fraudulent practices at the now-defunct Trump University. Trump's comments allude to Curiel potentially taking offense at the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border.
"They're sending people that have lots of problems ... they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime," Trump said last summer about Mexicans, before continuing: "They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
The former Florida governor may have also had another motivation for joining the national conversation surrounding Trump's recent comments — Bush's wife Columba is of Mexican heritage, as well.
UPDATE: 4:33 p.m. EDT — As Donald Trump continued to get criticism from all sides on Tuesday over his comments that a Mexican-American judge could not be impartial toward him, the presumptive Republican nominee saw one of his first un-endorsements.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, considered the most vulnerable Republican running for re-election in 2016, said he could no longer support Trump due to the candidate’s rhetoric and his attacks against Hispanics, women and other groups.
The announcement came in a statement from Kirk on Tuesday afternoon, in which the senator said Trump “has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world.”
GOP Sen. Mark Kirk says he cannot support Donald Trump pic.twitter.com/bdcpKkxILd
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) June 7, 2016
Many Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have disavowed Trump’s latest attacks on the judge presiding over his Trump University court case, but most have maintained that they will still support him as the nominee.
Kirk told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he would not vote for Trump’s likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, but would instead write in former CIA Director and retired Gen. David Petraeus, Roll Call reported.
UPDATE: 4:16 p.m. EDT — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who dropped out of the 2016 presidential race last month, said Tuesday he is still “assessing” whether he will vote for Donald Trump in November, NBC News reported.
During his presidential run, Cruz got into numerous fights with Trump and the two often exchanged insults and called each other names on social media. Near the end of Cruz’s bid, Trump insinuated that Cruz’s father helped assassinate President John F. Kennedy.
SO: finally caught up w/ @tedcruz. Why's he waiting so long to either endorse Trump or not? "Assessing."
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) June 7, 2016
Cruz also suggested Tuesday the possibility of a platform fight at the Republican National Convention, July 18-21 in Cleveland, to uphold “conservative principles.”
UPDATE: 3:22 p.m. EDT — An anti-racism group is planning a massive rally against Donald Trump when he visits Scotland later this month for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate his Trump Turnberry golf course.
Stand Up To Racism aims to attracts hundreds of protesters against Trump. Activist Keir McKechnie said he expects union workers, students and representatives from Scottish mosques to attend the rally, BuzzFeed News reported Tuesday.
“Trump is not welcome in Scotland and his racist toxic poison is not welcome,” said McKechnie. “His message of hate is one that we’ll challenge and we would not encourage anyone to support him in his presidency. Also, although this protest happens to be taking place in Scotland, we want to represent people across the whole of the U.K. who reject Trump’s racism and Islamophobia.”
UPDATE: 2:54 p.m. EDT — Iowa state Sen. David Johnson suspended his Republican Party membership Tuesday to protest "racist remarks and judicial jihad" from Donald Trump. Johnson, 65, is a high-ranking Republican who has served 18 years in the Iowa Legislature. He told local reporters he registered as "no party" Tuesday and might quit caucusing with Republicans in the Iowa Senate if Trump's campaign continues to court voters with racist and sexist rhetoric.
"I will not stand silent if the party of Lincoln and the end of slavery buckles under the racial bias of a bigot," Johnson said. "Mark me down as Never Trump."
Johnson said he won't vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election either. He previously supported former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president, and then former business executive Carly Fiorina. Both dropped out months ago. Trump is the lone Republican in the race.
UPDATE: 2:38 p.m. EDT — Hillary Clinton could have a shot at winning conservative Utah, and she has Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson to thank. A new poll of 1,519 registered Utah voters from Gravis Marketing shows Johnson picking up 16 percent of the vote, compared with 29 percent support for Donald Trump and 26 percent support for Clinton. That means Johnson could act as a spoiler for the GOP and hand Clinton the solidly Republican state in the general election.
UPDATE: 2:29 p.m. EDT — U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., called President Barack Obama racist when questioned about Donald Trump's recent criticism of a Mexican-American judge.
“You could easily argue that the president of the United States is a racist,” Zeldin told CNN’s John Berman, citing the president’s “policies and his rhetoric.”
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has told his campaign surrogates to dismiss accusations that he is racist by questioning critics' about their own racial bias. “The people asking the questions — those are the racists,” Trump said, according to Bloomberg Politics. “I would go at ’em.”
Zeldin indeed went for it on CNN. Asked about House Speaker Paul Ryan's comments Tuesday that Trump's remarks were racist, Zeldin agreed.
“The way I subjectively define racism, I agree as well. I think that Mr. Trump made a regrettable mistake with his statement,” Zeldin said. “We shouldn’t be going after ethnicity and race with a judge, to assume that they are unqualified to serve in a particular case because of it.”
“What would you call someone who makes racist statements?” asked Berman.
“Everyone calls them a racist,” Zeldin said.
“So if Donald Trump is making racist statements, you’re saying he’s a racist?” Berman probed.
Zeldin said Trump was not a racist because his views weren't based on racial superiority, The Guardian reported. “If he, internally, felt superior, because he is white and he’s not Hispanic, if he felt superior because he was white and he wasn’t black, or if he was Christian and not Jewish, you could start getting into the weeds internally, as far as a person’s character goes,” Zeldin said.
CNN’s Kate Bolduan pushed back, asking Zeldin if he was “comfortable saying that Donald Trump, your nominee, is racist.”
“You could easily argue that the president of the United States is a racist,” Zeldin said. “My purpose here isn’t to go through the list to call everyone a racist.”
UPDATE: 2:14 p.m. EDT — Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is launching her general election campaign with stops in Ohio and Pennsylvania next week. A day after the Associated Press declared Clinton had enough delegates to become the nominee, Clinton's campaign announced Tuesday she will visit the Pittsburgh area June 14 to “lay out what is at stake in November.” Clinton will also travel to Cleveland.
UPDATE: 1:58 p.m. EDT — The polls are scheduled to close at 8 p.m. local time (11 p.m. EDT) in California Tuesday night, and thousands of first-time voters are expected to come out.
While Donald Trump was declared the presumptive Republican nominee weeks ago as the last GOP candidate standing, supporter Don Barbato, 72, said he voted for the business mogul Tuesday to make sure his vote counted.
“America is a business. He’s a proven businessman,” Barbato said of Trump. “That’s what this country needs.”
Barbato told the Fresno Bee that he only voted once before in the 1980s, but when his candidate didn’t win, he gave up on the electoral process.
UPDATE: 1:47 p.m. EDT — Bernie Sanders isn't ready to concede the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders is scheduled to host his election night rally Tuesday in Santa Monica, California, after six states vote in the final big push for the 2016 primary campaign.
Sanders will gather with supporters a day after the Associated Press declared Hillary Clinton the presumptive Democratic nominee. He also plans to campaign this month in the District of Columbia, which holds the final primary of the Democratic campaign season on June 14.
UPDATE: 1:32 p.m. EDT — Will President Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, endorse Hillary Clinton, potentially the nation's first woman president, in her home state of New York Wednesday? Obama will be in New York for a Democratic event Wednesday, but won't "see or meet with Secretary Clinton," the White House said Tuesday.
Obama is eager to take on Republican Donald Trump and stump for Clinton, and a formal endorsement of her candidacy could come this week, the New York Times reported Monday.
“He has indicated he wants to spend a lot of time on the campaign trail, so when it’s time to do that, we’ll go out guns a-blazing,” Jennifer Psaki, Obama’s communications director, told the New York Times in an interview. “We are actively thinking through how to use the president on the campaign trail — what works for the nominee, what works for him, and how to utilize his strengths and his appeal.”
UPDATE: 1:04 p.m. EDT — Bernie Sanders' New Jersey campaign chairman said the race isn’t over yet after the Associated Press declared Monday night that Hillary Clinton had clinched the nomination. New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski told NPR’s “Morning Edition” Tuesday that the AP should have held off on reporting on the superdelegate race until after voters had weighed in. California, New Jersey and four other states are voting Tuesday.
“I think the Democratic nomination is going to be decided in Philadelphia at the convention,” Wisniewski said. “As we speak today, and as the election is concluded tonight, neither candidate is going to have enough elected delegates to get the nomination. They’re going to have to rely on superdelegates and those votes won’t be cast until the convention in Philadelphia.
He called the Associated Press’ reporting an “an unfortunate rush to judgment” ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July.
“They should have waited until all the primaries were finished before making any pronouncements,” he said.
Clinton was declared the winner because she has won more votes and states and has more superdelegates, the Democratic Party insiders who can vote for the candidate of their choosing regardless of who voters in their state pick.
UPDATE: 12:55 p.m. EDT — With the Republican race all but over and Hillary Clinton cinching enough superdelegate votes to become the presumptive Democratic nominee Monday night, turnout in New Jersey was steady but unremarkable Tuesday, poll workers said.
"It's not overwhelming. People have been in and out, in and out," a poll worker in Delran told local media.
New Jersey and five other states are holding primary elections Tuesday, but there is little suspense left over who will be the Republican and Democratic nominees. Donald Trump is the last Republican standing, and while Bernie Sanders has said he will keep challenging Clinton in the Democratic primary, she has far more votes and has won more states.
UPDATE: 12:34 p.m. EDT — Demi Lovato stands with Hillary Clinton, Mark Ruffalo has Bernie Sanders’ back and Aaron Carter briefly considered backing Donald Trump. Celebrities have been weighing in on the 2016 race in recent months and with the vote coming to California Tuesday, they were ready to make one final push and urge their social media supporters to back their preferred candidate for president.
“Come on California & beyond. Let's make history. Unite the party. Let's head into November together. #ImWithHer,” actress Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted Tuesday morning with a picture of her wearing a Clinton campaign pin.
On the other side of the heated Democratic primary, actress Rosario Dawson reprimanded the Associated Press for announcing Monday night that Clinton had secured enough superdelegate votes to secure the nominee at the Democratic National Convention in July in a move that could potentially depress voter turnout in the six states voting Tuesday.
UPDATE: 12:22 p.m. EDT — Paul Ryan said he doesn’t know whether Donald Trump is racist “in his heart.” Ryan called Trump’s recent remarks about a Mexican-American judge the “textbook definition of a racist comment” in a press conference early Tuesday, before clarifying his remarks on Fox News Radio’s Kilmeade & Friends.
“No, I’m not – I’m saying that the comment was. I don’t know what’s in his heart, I can’t speak to that whatsoever. What I’m saying is to suggest that a person’s race disqualifies them to do their job is textbook – that’s what I’m saying. I’m not saying what’s in his heart because I don’t know what is in his heart and I don’t think he feels that in his heart but I don’t think it is wise or justifiable to suggest that a person should be disqualified from their job because of their ethnicity,” Ryan said Tuesday when asked if Trump is a racist.
Trump has said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was born in Indiana to Mexican parents, cannot rule fairly because Trump wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
UPDATE: 12:11 p.m. EDT — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is the latest Republican leader to reprimand Donald Trump's in-your-face campaign while still urging GOP voters to back him. McConnell said voters face a difficult decision in November when choosing between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
"We know for sure we have two very, very unpopular candidates. But we have a two-party system in this country. This is a choice. Regardless of who any of us supported earlier, this is the choice," McConnell said in a Monday interview with the Texas-based "Wells Report" radio program.
Asked about whether the race was being billed as the "lesser of two evils election," McConnell responded, "Well, it just is, that's an honest answer. This is a choice that many Americans are not happy with, but it is the choice."
McConnell said he won't vote for Clinton, but he hopes Trump will take note of the controversial surrounding his remarks on blacks, Muslims, Mexicans and women as he moves into a general election fight.
"Would I like to see him tone things down? You bet," McConnell said.
UPDATE: 11:57 a.m. EDT — Bernie Sanders' campaign is warnings its supporters about the "rigged economy" and "establishment politics" as voters head to the polls Tuesday in Montana, New Jersey, California and other states. After his rival, Hillary Clinton, was named the presumptive Democratic nominee by the Associated Press Monday night, Sanders tweeted via his 2016 account Tuesday morning: "Pundits and the political press wanna call this race early before every person votes. Let's show them we ain't gonna let it happen. Go vote."
UPDATE: 11:48 a.m. EDT — Democratic National Committeewoman Pat Cotham, a North Carolina superdelegate, said Monday night she will back Bernie Sanders in his campaign to persuade Democratic Party insiders to support his underdog bid for president. Her support came as the Associated Press declared Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee based on voting results and a survey of superdelegates, party insiders who can vote as they please at the Democratic National Convention in July.
Cotham, a Mecklenburg County commissioner, said Sanders was the Democrats' best hopes of betting Donald Trump in the general election.
"He can beat Trump and we cannot have Donald Trump," Cotham told Politico. "The polls show that [Bernie] has a better chance of beating him than Secretary Clinton does. That's just how I came to it."
Sanders has said he wants a contested convention and will ask superdelegates to support him instead of Clinton because he is polling better against Trump in national polls.
UPDATE: 11:29 a.m. EDT — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie voted in the state’s Republican primary Tuesday, presumably voting for Donald Trump, who he endorsed quickly after dropping out of the presidential race earlier this year and has since defended repeatedly.
Christie took his support for Trump one step further Tuesday, saying Trump was not a racist shortly after House Speaker Paul Ryan described Trump’s comments about a Mexican-American judge overseeing his Trump University case as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
Trump has said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel cannot rule fairly because he is of Mexican heritage and Trump wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"I know Donald Trump. I've known him for 14 years. And Donald Trump is not a racist," Christie said.
UPDATE: 11:18 a.m. EDT — Bill Clinton's former vice president, Al Gore, is remaining neutral in the 2016 Democratic primary. Gore is the only superdelegate from Tennessee who hasn't decided between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Associated Press reported Monday night. His spokeswoman declined to tell the AP why he won't endorse a candidate.
Gore still might be mad that Clinton overshadowed him by opting to run for a New York U.S. Senate while he was campaigning for president in 2000, Politico claimed. Gore also seemed ruffled after Bill Clinton put major policy decisions such as health care reform in his wife's hands.
“Usually you give your vice president something of that level. You don’t give it to the first lady,” a former Clinton White House staffer told Politico. “People forget that sort of started the relationship on a downward spiral early on.”
UPDATE: 11:01 a.m. EDT — Donald Trump boasts about his ability to sway voters and knock down insider politicians. But when it comes to helping those insiders keep their jobs, can his word make a difference? The North Carolina House Republican primary race Tuesday between Rep. Renee Ellmers and Rep. George Holding, two House Republicans facing off in a redrawn North Carolina district, might offer some insight on Trump’s ability to sway voters.
Trump endorsed Ellmers over the weekend, his first congressional endorsement. In a robocall for her campaign, Trump said he needs, "her help in Washington so we can work together to defeat ISIS, secure our border and bring back jobs and, frankly, so many other things."
The former tea party star is expected to lose, however, after her former supporters spent $1.1 million in attacks ads to down her campaign because she voted for a budget deal that raised spending caps and backed the Export-Import Bank, a government business loan program also opposed by conservatives, NPR reported.
The conservative Club for Growth, for example, spent over $700,000 against Ellmers on TV and digital ads that sought to brand her as "part of the problem in Washington."
UPDATE: 10:46 a.m. EDT — Call it the XX ticket. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday it would be “fabulous” if two women were running for the White House from the Democratic Party.
“We’ve had two men over and over again for hundreds of years,” Pelosi, who endorsed Clinton Tuesday ahead of the California primary, said on "Good Morning America."
Hillary Clinton was declared the presumptive Democratic nominee by the Associated Press Monday night and it's rumored that she could be considering adding Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to the ticket as the vice president nominee. Clinton is expected to become the first female presidential candidate from a major political party in the United States at the Democratic National Convention in July.
UPDATE: 10:35 a.m. EDT — House Speaker Paul Ryan described Donald Trump's comments about a Mexican-American judge as "the textbook definition of racist comments," and urged the GOP presumptive presidential nominee to disavow his remarks.
But Ryan, who endorsed Trump last week just before Trump said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel cannot rule fairly in a case looking into his Trump University because he is of Mexican heritage, said he will still back Trump for president. Ryan said Trump is more likely to get Republican priorities signed into law compared with Democrat Hillary Clinton.
"Claiming a person can't do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment," Ryan told reporters Tuesday as voters headed to the polls in New Jersey, California and other states. "If you say something that's wrong, I think the mature and responsible thing is to acknowledge it."
He defended his decision to back Trump over Clinton. "I think if we go into the fall as a divided party, we are doomed to lose," Ryan said, after remarking that "I believe that we have more common ground on the policy issues of the day and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted with him than we do with her."
UPDATE: 10:05 a.m. EDT — Hillary Clinton won the 2016 Democratic nomination through "backroom deals," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tweeted Tuesday. "Congrats, HRC for winning delegate count the traditional Dem way: backroom deals, connections and kickbacks. Sorry, California!" he wrote to his 468,000 followers.
The Associated Press reported Monday night that Clinton had reached the necessary number of delegates to win the Democratic nomination because she had won more states, overall voters and superdelegate support.
UPDATE: 9:29 a.m. EDT — National Review staff writer David French, who recently decided against running for president as an alternative to Donald Trump, said supporters of the New York business mogul have attacked his multiracial family.
French told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday that his relatives received a telephone call from someone who said they worked for the Trump campaign warning that "the race would be very difficult for me." French announced Sunday he would not run as an independent for president.
"As everyone knows, [presumptive GOP nominee] Trump has an online racist mob that he often stokes by retweeting some of these horrible white supremacists. As that online racist mob is fond of pointing out, I have a multiracial family and so they have gone after my youngest daughter in the worst way imaginable," said French on the morning political talk show.
"They attacked you for having a multiracial family?" co-host Joe Scarborough said.
"Oh, you have no idea," said French, who along with his wife, Nancy, adopted their youngest daughter from Ethiopia in 2010, according to Politico.
French said Trump has "unlocked something terrible in this country."
UPDATE: 9:15 a.m. EDT — Donald Trump is the GOP's last standing presidential candidate, so the Republican primary contests Tuesday may seem low-stakes. But those looking ahead to the billionaire businessman's prospects in a general election matchup against Democrat Hillary Clinton might want to watch out for a potential protest vote movement in New Jersey and other states.
Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman told NJ.com she and other New Jersey Republicans should vote for either Ohio Gov. John Kasich or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who both have long dropped out of the 2016 campaign, to protest Trump. She said such a message could maybe change Trump “a little bit.”
Meanwhile, in California, Republicans Michael Reagan, the son of former President Ronald Reagan, and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have said they will not vote for Trump in the primary.
UPDATE: 8:49 a.m. EDT — It's not just the delegate-rich states of California and New Jersey weighing in Tuesday in the 2016 presidential race. Voters in New Mexico, where 34 delegates are at stake and polls close at 7 p.m. local time; Montana, with 21 delegates and where polls close at 8 p.m. local time; South Dakota, with 20 delegates and where polls close at 7 p.m. local time; and North Dakota, where 18 delegates will be doled out and caucuses begin at 7 p.m. local time, will get a say.
In the Democratic contest, Hillary Clinton has so far won Clinton 13.3 million votes to Bernie Sanders' 10.3 million, according to the Green Papers.
UPDATE: 8:35 a.m. EDT — Meryl Streep has a message for Donald Trump: Maybe you can win over more women voters by quoting the Bard of Avon.
The legendary actress wore a fat suit and orange makeup to portray Trump in a reimagined skit from "The Taming of the Shrew" Monday night during the Public Theater’s 2016 Gala final, the New York Daily News reported. Streep poked fun at the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in her version of Cole Porter’s “Brush Up Your Shakespeare."
“You’ll let me know, why all the women say no,” Streep sang during the annual event honoring playwright William Shakespeare. In the famous musical "The Taming of the Shrew," male gangsters advise men how to win over women with lines from Shakespeare.
Trump has struggled to lock up the women vote in his heated GOP primary contest and in national polls looking ahead to a November general election.
Streep is a well-known fan of Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, and Clinton has said she hopes the actress plays her one day in a movie.
“I find a lot of similarities,” Streep said when introducing Clinton at the Women in the World Summit in 2012. “We’re roughly the same age, we both have two brothers — mine are annoying — we both grew up in middle-class homes with spirited, big-hearted mothers who encouraged us to do something valuable and interesting with our lives. We both went from public high schools to distinguished women’s colleges. …We both went on to graduate school at Yale.”
But their “two paths diverged,” Streep said. “Where Hillary aimed her life and where it landed was evident very early on. While I was a cheerleader, she was the president of the student government. Where I was the lead in all three musicals, people who know her tell me she should never be encouraged to sing. Regardless, she has turned out to be the voice of her generation. I’m an actress, and she is the real deal," Streep said.
UPDATE: 8:10 a.m. EDT — The heir to one of the nation's most prominent political names said he won't back Donald Trump and his father, former President Ronald Reagan, wouldn't have either. Michael Reagan tweeted late Monday that Trump shouldn't count on his vote in Tuesday's California primary. Reagan remains one of the GOP's favorite heroes. He died in 2004.
"This most likely would be the 1st time if my father was alive that he would not support the nominee of the GOP," Michael Reagan tweeted. He also called Trump “an embarrassment.“
UPDATE: 7:25 a.m. EDT — U.S. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she will vote Tuesday for Hillary Clinton in California, adding her last-minute endorsement to Clinton's large list of well-known supporters just hours after the Associated Press declared Clinton the presumptive Democratic nominee. Pelosi said Clinton was a champion for the American people, and thanked rival Bernie Sanders for his energy.
Pelosi's endorsement could be a sign that high-level establishment Democrats are ready to rally behind Clinton. Some Democratic leaders, including President Barack Obama, have declined to endorse a candidate to avoid the appearance that the race was fixed.
UPDATE: 6:55 a.m. EDT — In California, Latino and black voters, groups that have often supported Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, could come out in full force to support the historic candidacies of Democrats Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez. Both are looking to replace retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, whose exit put her Senate seat up for grabs for the first time since 1992. Harris, the state’s attorney general, would be the first black woman to win a Senate seat since Carol Moseley Braun. Sanchez, who’s served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 10 terms, would be the first Latina elected to the Senate.
The women could end up facing off against each other in November, even though both are Democrats. California’s primary system allows the top two vote-getters to compete past the primary.
Bernie Bros could be in for a rough night. Bernie Sanders’ backers have for months donated $20 and other small amounts to his movement, rallied at his campaign stops and shared memes on social media celebrating their favorite Democratic Socialist, all in the name of stopping Hillary Clinton from clinching the Democratic U.S. presidential nomination.
But as a final wave of voters head to the polls in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota Tuesday and with Clinton apparently clinching a majority of delegate votes, it may be too late for Sanders’ supporters to make a difference at the ballot box. With 2,383 delegates going into the last significant round of contests, the former U.S. secretary of state has enough votes to secure the nomination. And with 1,569 delegates, the U.S. senator from Vermont has no path forward unless he somehow can convince unbound superdelegates backing Clinton to side with him at the Democratic National Convention in July.
After Tuesday, the lone remaining nominating contest for Democrats will be held in Washington June 10.
On the Republican side, billionaire businessman Donald Trump is the only candidate still on the ballot, so the vote won’t make much of a difference for his campaign, which has inspired Americans concerned about terrorism, immigration and the economy. He has already accumulated 1,239 delegates, two more than needed to win the GOP presidential nomination. Mainstream Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who previously criticized Trump’s occasional racist and sexist remarks, have since endorsed him, indicating the concept of a contested Republican National Convention in July to keep Trump off the general election ballot in November and ultimately out of the White House has failed to gain traction.
In California, where 475 pledged delegates are at stake, the RealClearPolitics average of all Democratic polling data in the state suggested it will be a close battle between Clinton, with 47.7 percent support, and Sanders, with 45.7 percent support. Many first-time voters are poised to show up, and many of them could back Sanders, who does well with young voters. Among the 646,220 people who registered to vote in California in recent weeks, 76 percent identified as Democrats, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It is clear that Californians are engaged and excited about this election,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement.
The presidential nomination race historically has been all but over by the time Golden State voters have had the chance to cast their ballots in a primary election, so this engagement and excitement may be partially due to the mere realization by California Democrats that their votes might finally count in a somewhat meaningful contest, at the very least in terms of the platform to be adopted at the party’s convention.
“Normally, when they get to California, it’s done. We’re the last Mohicans,” Joe Gunter, the Salinas mayor and a Clinton supporter, told the Washington Post. “I think it’s closer than they thought it would be. I thought Clinton would have steamrolled and been done with it by the time they got to California.”
In New Jersey, the second biggest prize with 126 delegates at stake Tuesday, things look better for Clinton and worse for Sanders, with the RCP average of all Democratic polling data in the state showing her with 57.5 percent support and him with 37 percent support. But Democrats there award their delegates proportionally, so Sanders could do reasonably well in New Jersey in the event his followers turn out.