With California's primary about 10 weeks away, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders each set their sights west, and paid visits to Southern California this week.
Sanders visited San Diego Tuesday. He held a rally at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theater Wednesday night. He also appeared on the late-night program “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
"The road to the White House goes right through the west and right through California on June 7," Sanders told a crowd at the Wiltern.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke Thursday morning to a small audience of students, administrators and media at the University of Southern California.
Clinton was part of a panel about national security issues alongside Mayor Eric Garcetti who has endorsed her. The event allowed Clinton to address recent terror events, and to praise California’s policies that deal with threats, which she described as positive and even-handed.
“I really commend L.A. What you have been doing over a number of years, but also taking now to this new level, Mayor, sends a strong signal about what we need to do more of everywhere,” Clinton said.
Clinton used Los Angeles’ history with gang violence as an analogy for thinking about terrorist groups.
“People who feel marginalized, left out, left behind, are going to want to join something,” Clinton said.
Like Sanders, Clinton’s trip to Los Angeles is scheduled to include an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” She will also attend two fundraisers – one in Santa Monica and another fundraiser at the Avalon Nightclub in West Hollywood with appearances from music stars Estelle, Ben Harper and Russell Simmons.
Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said now is a practical time for the candidates to come to California.
"We're entering a relatively slow time on the primary calendar, and even though there will be primaries and caucuses over the next couple weeks, they'll tend to be smaller states," Schnur said. "Given the slower pace, it gives both candidates a chance to come out here and lay some groundwork for the California primary in June."
Five-hundred and forty-eight delegates are at stake in California's Democratic primary. A recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California showed Clinton leading Sanders among likely primary voters in California. The poll shows her with 48 percent of the vote and him with 41.