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Politics and Policy

415 Delegates Up For Grabs: A Look At California's Primary

A man uses a voting machine.
Jacob Solis
KUNR Public Radio

California is the single biggest prize in the Democratic presidential nomination process. 415 delegates are up for grabs in Tuesday's primary. To get the latest about how the race is shaping up in the Golden State, KUNR's Paul Boger spoke with Scott Shafer, KQED's politics editor.

California is similar to Nevada in that it has a significant Latinx population, with more than a third of the state's residents identifying as Hispanic, and like Nevada, those voters appear to largely support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"When it comes to Latino voters, there's no question that Bernie Sanders is doing very, very well," Shafer said. "In a poll we conducted recently with Change Research, he had north of 40 percent of the Latino vote. [He] was also doing quite well with African Americans, by the way. He seems to be addressing issues that especially younger Latinos care a lot about, whether it's student debt, health care, the economy [and] climate change to a certain extent."

Super Tuesday also marks the first time former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will appear on the ballot. As a late entry into the race, Bloomberg skipped the first four nominating states, deciding to instead focus on the 14 Super Tuesday states. However, it's hard to say whether Bloomberg's gamble will pay off in delegate-rich California.

"As of a week and a half ago, he wasn't polling at a level that would net him any delegates at that 15 percent [threshold]," Shafer said. "Now, that could change. Obviously, some of the voters that were supporting Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Steyer could go to Bloomberg. He has been a constant presence on the airwaves here in California, unlike the others, I might add. I mean, really only Bernie Sanders has been on television in any significant kind of way, so Bloomberg definitely is getting his message out."

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