Sunday, April 10, 2016 10:31 pm
(Reuters)Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton on Sunday dismissed the notion of a contested nominating convention and said she was not preparing for such a scenario, after her rival for her party’s presidential nomination racked up another victory.
Bernie Sanders won the Wyoming caucuses on Saturday, his seventh victory over Clinton in the last eight Democratic nominating contests as the two gear up for a crucial matchup on April 19 in New York state.
Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, is trying to chip away at Clinton’s big lead in the number of delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination for the Nov. 8 presidential election.
He said on Sunday he believed he could close the gap, and left the door open for a so-called floor flight at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July if neither has won an outright majority of delegates.
In that case, a system of multiple ballots takes place, governed by complex rules, with candidates hoping to persuade delegates to vote for them.
Asked on CNN if she were preparing for such a scenario, Clinton said, “No, I intend to have the number of delegates that are required to be nominated.”
The former U.S. secretary of state said she was leading Sanders by 2.5 million popular votes and in pledged delegates. “I feel good about the upcoming contests, and I expect to be the nominee,” she said.
The specter of a contested convention, a relatively rare event in recent U.S. politics, looms much larger in the Republican race.
While front-runner Donald Trump has amassed a delegate lead by winning many state contests, rival Ted Cruz has proved tenacious in pursuit of every last delegate available by other means. Cruz’s campaign has worked hard in states where the delegate allocation process is more complex, such as Colorado, where the U.S. senator from Texas garnered 34 delegates on Saturday.
The Trump campaign has complained about the nominating process, including in Louisiana, where the New York billionaire Trump won the vote but split the delegates equally with Cruz.
“It’s a crooked system,” Trump said at a large rally in Rochester, New York, on Sunday before saying the process was broken in both major parties and expressing sympathy for Sanders. “Look at Bernie: He wins and wins and wins.”
Trump said he had warned the Republican National Committee there would be a “big problem” if he does not become the nominee. “We’re supposed to be a democracy. We’re supposed to be: You vote and it means something.”
Paul Manafort, the veteran political strategist Trump hired to oversee his delegate operation, accused the Cruz campaign of bullying delegates into backing the senator, something the Trump campaign planned to protest.