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Sanders hints at contested convention

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WASHINGTON — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday vowed to continue his fight for the Democratic nomination beyond the primary season, telling reporters at a news conference in Los Angeles that he plans to go after Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates.

Clinton currently has 2,313 total delegates — 1,769 of which are pledged and 544 are superdelegates — and she is expected to cross the 2,383-delgate threshold in the next few days to clinch the nomination. But Sanders, who has 1,501 pledged delegates and only 46 superdelegates, says he can still woo enough of her superdelegates between now and the Democratic convention in July to swing the nomination his way.

Superdelegates are essentially free-agent party and union stalwarts.

“The media is in error when they lump superdelegates with pledged delegates. Pledged delegates are real,” Sanders said. “Hillary Clinton will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to win the Democratic nomination at the end of the nominating process on June 14. Won’t happen. She will be dependent on superdelegates.”

Sanders acknowledged that it’s unlikely he’ll be able to turn around his fortunes.

“We understand that we have a steep climb,” Sanders said. “I’m not here to tell you that tomorrow we’re going to flip 300 superdelegates. You don’t hear me say that. But I am saying we are going to make the case.”

The Virgin Islands holds its Democratic caucuses later on Saturday and Puerto Rico holds its primary on Sunday, when Clinton will likely get her earliest opportunity to clinch the nomination. California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota hold their primaries on June 7, and Washington, D.C., holds the final nominating contest of the primary season on June 14.