(Left) Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at her presidential primary election night rally, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke); (right) Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., speaks with a reporter after an election night party in Bethesda, Md., Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Van Hollen defeated Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Clinton moved closer to becoming the Democratic presidential nominee and Van Hollen won the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat in Maryland vacated by Barbara Mikulski, who retired.
Clinton’s victory in Maryland — and in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut — gives her a total of 2,168 delegates as she inched closer to the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination. Her victories Tuesday puts greater pressure on Sen. Bernie Sanders, who claims 1,401 delegates. Sanders cannot mathematically beat Clinton but has indicated that he will press on to the Democratic National Convention in July.
“With your help, we’re going to come back to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention with the most votes and the most pledged delegates,” Clinton told a cheering crowd Tuesday night.
In Maryland, Clinton again galvanized large numbers of African American voters around her candidacy, something Sanders has failed to do throughout the campaign. The Clinton campaign is hoping Sanders will dial back the criticism of Clinton and become more conciliatory.
“Imagine a tomorrow where hard work is honored, families are supported, streets are safe and communities are strong, and where love trumps hate,” Clinton said, playing on Donald Trump’s name, the Republican frontrunner for the GOP nomination.
Clinton, according to news reports, will soon turn her attention to the general election and set her sights on Trump, who is leading his GOP opponents with 988 delegates. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has 568 delegates. A GOP candidate needs 1,237 delegates to secure the nomination.
Meanwhile, Chris Van Hollen, a seven-term congressman, won the Maryland Senate primary with 53% of the vote, compared with 39% for Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards. Van Hollen will face Maryland House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga, who won Tuesday’s GOP Senate primary, in the November general election. Maryland hasn’t elected a Republican candidate to the Senate since 1980.
“I want to say to all Marylanders, whether you are from Baltimore or the Washington suburbs or Western Maryland, Southern Maryland or the Eastern Shore, I will fight hard for you every day in the United States Senate,” Van Hollen told a crowd Tuesday night.
Van Hollen was able to fend off Edwards who put up a good fight but ultimately could not rally enough White voters in Maryland suburbs. Van Hollen and Edwards shared similar voting records on taxes and the environment but Edwards, who could have become the first African American woman to represent Maryland in Congress, talked more about diversity during the campaign.
Edwards represents the 4th Congressional District of Maryland, which includes Prince Georges County. Tuesday night Edwards said “To my Democratic Party, let me say today Maryland is on the verge of having an all-male delegation in a so-called progressive state. When will the voices of people of color; when will the voices of women; when will the voice of labor; when will the voices of Black women; when will our voices be effective, legitimate, equal leaders in a big-tent party?”
The Afro endorsed Edwards saying she planned to tackle racial tension, the result of over-policing in Baltimore, by changing the way residents view police officers. She also intended to increase police training, enforcing the use of body cameras on all officers and including citizen participation and oversight in police matters.
“My perspective as a mom who has raised a fine young Black man is that it is really important for me to carry these views and visions into the United States Senate, the visions of a lot of moms and parents who feel like their voices are not at the table,” Edwards told reporters before Tuesday’s election.