Unpacking New Jersey’s Role in Clinton’s Path to the Nomination

Clinton.

Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. She finished Tuesday’s New Jersey primary about 26 points above Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and secured 75 of the state’s 126 Democratic delegates.

Counting superdelegates, Clinton surpassed the 2,383 needed to clinch the nomination after New Jersey primary. Not counting superdelegates, she currently has 2,191 pledged delegates to Sanders’ 1,816. The Associated Press (AP) declared Clinton the presumptive nominee on Monday following Puerto Rico’s primary. However, the former New York Senator did not declare victory until New Jersey had been called.

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PolitickerNJ spoke with Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray about Clinton’s historic win yesterday, one that makes her the first woman to ever receive a major party nomination for president.

“History isn’t going to say anything other than she won the nomination,” said Murray about the role the Garden State played in the nominating process. While Murray says when she became the presumptive nominee matters little, New Jersey’s Democratic Party took a lap of victory Tuesday night over being able to carry Clinton to success.

According to Murray, the main takeaway from how Clinton was declared the presumptive nominee is likely to center around the Democratic Party’s superdelegate process. In the party, high ranking Democrats, party influencers and elected officials get to cast votes at the party convention. Because many media outlets have been counting superdelegates that claim they will vote for Clinton in her total since early in the campaign process, Sanders has been quick to protest the process claiming that it unfairly skewed the results of the elections. Even so, Clinton has won the popular vote in the nationwide primaries. While Sanders says he plans to try and court those superdelegates at the convention and convince them to cast votes for him, it is unlikely that many will do so given the final pledged delegate count derived from the primaries.

“There could be an issue, and this has come up already, about the role of superdelegates in the Democratic nominating process and there will be that discussion at the convention,” Murray said. “I am sure that the fact that the AP declared her the nominee will be part of the discussion.”

According to Murray, Clinton’s landside victory in the Garden State is a reflection of the way politics operates in New Jersey.

“It actually says something about New Jersey because New Jersey is such an organization state,” said Murray of Clinton’s big primary victory in NJ. “It is a county line, party boss state. Having the line in every county here was worth, probably, five or ten points to begin with. That is something that is unusual in the country. It makes it hard for anybody who doesn’t get that endorsement because of the way the organization puts resources out there to get out the vote for their line.”

Murray said that the wide margin of victory Clinton had over Sanders in NJ could also shape her dealings with the state in the future.

“If I am right in my recollection that this is her biggest margin outside of the south, she will remember that,” Murray said. “And there will be people in New Jersey… who she owes a debt to for really putting a stamp on her victory.”

For Murray, the New Jersey victory on Tuesday was unsurprising.

“It was 26 points and I had 28 in my poll so I am the last person to be surprised by the outcome,” Murray said.

Clinton will likely face Republican Donald Trump in the November general election.