Democrats try to blunt strong California showing for Sanders

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is the largest prize in the calculations of any Democratic presidential candidate, and Bernie Sanders has been working the state for months.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign event at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

That worries his rivals, who fear that if he performs well enough in the state, which has 412 delegates, he could build a delegate lead that would be difficult to catch.

Sanders has been organizing intensively among Latinos and young voters, producing campaign materials in seven languages. Mike Bloomberg has tried to counter with TV ads in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon that also reach California.

Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren all remain competitive.

Many Democratic presidential candidates launched their campaigns last year with bold pledges to reject help from super PACs and dark money groups.

But as the realities of the primary fight sink in, those promises have faded.

Warren, a critic of big money in politics, was the latest White House hopeful to accept help from a big money organization that can raise and spend unlimited amounts.

Biden, Klobuchar and Sanders have done much the same.

The Democratic battle to take on President Donald Trump is entering a critical new phase as more than a dozen states vote in the next week week with about one third of the delegates needed to win at stake. And winning requires big spending on advertising.

AP-NORC Poll: Democrats feel mixed about nomination process

Democratic voters feel generally positive about all of their top candidates for president, but they have only moderate levels of confidence that their party’s nomination process is fair. That’s according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Among Democrats, self-described moderates and conservatives are more likely than liberals to have high confidence that the party’s process is fair.

Democrats age 45 and older are more likely to be very confident than those who are younger.

Some respondents worry the bitter internal battle for the nomination could weaken whomever emerges as the party’s pick to take on Trump in November.

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