SANTA MONICA, Calif. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday called Hillary Clinton’s decision to renege on a commitment to debate him in California “insulting” to the one in eight Americans who live in the nation’s largest state.
Sanders spoke about Clinton backing out of the debate during an address to 6,750 supporters who filled a football field at Santa Monica High School.
“A number of months ago our campaign and her campaign reached an agreement on a number of debates, including one here in California,” Sanders told the crowd. He was referring to commitments each campaign agreed to last winter to add debates to a schedule set by the Democratic National Committee.
Sanders said it was “insulting to the people of California – our largest state – that she is not prepared to have a discussion with me about how we address the major crises we face.”
Sanders’ remarks capped a day when he continued to campaign from rally to rally across Southern California ahead of the June 7 primary contest with 475 pledged delegates at stake.
Sanders expressed confidence about his prospects in California over Clinton. “They’ve been very nervous lately and I don’t want to get them more nervous but we’re going to win here in California,” he said.
In addition to California, there are contests on the same day in Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota. In those states, Sanders hopes to extend a recent winning streak that so far has put 20 states in his win column.
Sanders said his campaign has been propelled by excitement and energy that could carry Democrats to victory in November. He cited a surge this year in new voters in California, where Monday’s deadline for registration was expected to see some 2 million voters sign up according to projections by Political Data Inc. “Voter registration here in California among young people and working people is off the charts,” Sanders said.