US elections: California governor endorses Clinton to stop Trump's 'dangerous candidacy'

Jerry Brown has a bitter history with the Clintons, but said this was 'no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other'

Tim Walker
Los Angeles
Tuesday 31 May 2016 19:11 BST
Jerry Brown (centre) and Bill Clinton's 1992 Democratic primary race was just as rancorous as Clinton v Sanders
Jerry Brown (centre) and Bill Clinton's 1992 Democratic primary race was just as rancorous as Clinton v Sanders ((Getty Images))

California Governor Jerry Brown has endorsed Hillary Clinton ahead of the state’s imminent Democratic presidential primary, saying a vote for the former Secretary of State is the only way to halt Donald Trump’s “dangerous candidacy”.

The California primary on 7 June is the last and biggest contest of primary season, and it has become an unexpectedly close race between Ms Clinton and her progressive challenger, Bernie Sanders. In March, Ms Clinton appeared comfortably ahead, but a poll released last week found the Vermont Senator just two percentage points adrift, well within the margin of error.

The Clinton campaign, which has amassed an unassailable lead in delegates, super-delegates and the popular vote, expects to reach the numbers needed for the nomination earlier the same day, when New Jersey also goes to the polls. But a Sanders win in California could give him the momentum and moral weight to take the fight to the Democratic convention in July.

Ms Clinton has reportedly curtailed her latest campaign tour of New Jersey to return early to the stump in the Golden State and try to prevent an upset. California is symbolic not only for its size, but for its deep blue tinge: it has voted for the Democrat at the past six presidential elections, ever since Ms Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, won the White House in 1992.

In an open letter to California Democrats and independent voters, who can also vote in the primary, Mr Brown said “Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee,” adding that Ms Clinton, “with her long experience, especially as Secretary of State, has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead our country on day one.”

He also said, however, that he had been “deeply impressed” by Mr Sanders’s success, and that the Senator’s campaign had “driven home the message that the top one percent has unfairly captured way too much of America’s wealth, leaving the majority of people far behind.”

Mr Brown, a Democrat, compared the Sanders campaign to his own presidential run in 1992, when the clashes between himself and Mr Clinton grew increasingly bitter. At one point Mr Brown accused the Clintons of allegedly diverting public fund to Ms Clinton’s law firm. But in his endorsement on Tuesday, he said this was “no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other.”

A Sanders rally in Oakland in Monday evening was interrupted by a handful of animal rights protesters, who attempted to rush the stage during Mr Sanders’s speech. The demonstrators from the group Direct Action Everywhere, who said they wanted to encourage the candidate to take a tough stance on factory farming, were ejected by Secret Service agents.

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