— -- Sen. Bernie Sanders is not dropping out of the presidential race, he told supporters at a rally Tuesday night, after Hillary Clinton's projected primary wins in New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota.
He said of next week's primary in the District of Columbia, "We are going to fight hard. We are going to fight hard to win the primary in Washington, D.C. And then we take our fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."
The Vermont senator was introduced as "the next president of the United States" by his staff moments before he took the stage in Santa Monica, California. The crowd of 2,000 to 3,000 people cheered for over a minute before Sanders spoke.
He thanked his supporters for "being part of the political revolution" and being ready to "fight for real change." He noted how far his long-shot campaign had come since the beginning of the primary season.
"All of you know that when we began this campaign a little bit over a year ago, we were considered to be a fringe campaign," said Sanders. "But over the last year, I think that has changed just a little bit. By the end of tonight, we'll have won, I believe, 22 state primaries and caucuses. We will have received well over 10 million votes."
He grew sentimental as he mentioned how "enormously optimistic [he was] about future of [the] country."
"It has been one of the most moving moments of my life to be out throughout this state in beautiful evenings and seeing thousands and thousands of people coming out. People who are prepared to stand up and fight for real change in this country," Sanders said.
He touted other issues, including immigration reform and taking on the "billionaire class and corporate America" to start "paying their fair share in taxes."
When the crowd chanted "Bernie!" he said, "No, it is all of us."
Sanders said during his speech that he had spoken with both Barack Obama and Clinton.
"Tonight I had a very kind call from President Obama. And I look forward to working with him to make sure that we move this country forward. And tonight I had a very gracious call from Secretary Clinton and congratulated her on her victories tonight," he said during his remarks.
Sanders is scheduled to meet with Obama on Thursday.
As for California — which had yet to be called when he spoke, but Clinton was leading by more than 20 points — Sanders said he suspected the gap would "significantly diminish."
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