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Grijalva to Sanders: 'Not going to happen'

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Grijalva to Sanders: 'Not going to happen'

  •  Grijalva speaks at a Sanders rally in Tucson, just days before Arizona's presidential preference election in March.
    Paul Ingram/ Grijalva speaks at a Sanders rally in Tucson, just days before Arizona's presidential preference election in March.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, the first member of Congress to endorse Bernie Sanders in his campaign for the presidency, has begun calling on the Vermont senator to wind up his efforts and "begin to try to integrate the party."

In remarks that signal a shift from one of Sanders' most fervent supporters on Capitol Hill, Grijalva told the Washington Post on Wednesday that the candidate's strategy of attempting to win over Democratic super-delegates to garner the nomination is "not gaining traction."

The remarks came just a day after Hillary Clinton locked up her lead among pledged delegates to the Democratic convention, and two days after the former Secretary of State was reported by the Associated Press to have enough commitments from super-delegates and pledged delegates to secure the nomination.

Even after that report, Grijalva published an op-ed in USA Today that said "Sanders needs to keep doing what he’s doing."

After Clinton's primary victories Tuesday, Grijalva has somewhat dialed back his insistence in that piece that "party unity is a two-way street."

He told the Post:

"The reality is unattainable at some point. You deal with that. Bernie is going to deal with this much more rapidly than you think," said Grijalva, who is also a super-delegate. "At some point, when we're trying to flip 400 super-delegates, and it's not gaining traction, I think you have to come to the conclusion that it's not going to happen. You just move into a different direction. And that different direction is that we begin to try to integrate the party."

"He's gonna do the right thing," Grijalva said.

Grijalva, who along with Minnesota's U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison heads up the progressive contingent in Congress, was the first representative to endorse Sanders. The Southern Arizona Democrat declared his support for Sanders last October.

Grijalva was a strong enough backer to float himself as a potential running mate for Sanders. In April, he sent out an email promoting an online poll that asked for a choice among potential vice-presidential picks. Included in the options were the Tucson Democrat, Ellison, and Hawaii's U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

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