SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Tapping free WiFi at public libraries and cafes and hawking T-shirts and bumper stickers out of a Santa Fe hemp clothing store, autonomous cells of Bernie Sanders volunteers in New Mexico have been feverishly fundraising and speed-dialing voters for months.
And they're not about to give up. Supporters of the Democratic presidential candidate canvassed door-to-door over the Memorial Day weekend, guided by smartphone apps linked to voter databases.
At the same time, Hillary Clinton is on track to clinch the nomination in the final round of state Democratic primaries on June 7 that include New Mexico and higher-stakes votes in California and New Jersey.
The divide between Democratic voters in the presidential primary race is on prominent display in New Mexico, where Sanders recently addressed roaring crowds at rallies in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and elsewhere. Days later, former President Bill Clinton arrived to stump for his wife and raise campaign dollars at a private gathering in Santa Fe.
"I think we still have a chance, and I wouldn't sleep well if we didn't keep trying," said Navona Gallegos, 24, a Santa Fe hypnotherapist who joined 10 other Sanders supporters at a phone-banking session in the downtown Santa Fe public library on recent weekday evening.
A 75-year-old woodworker and an attorney in her 50s worked alongside, with personal cellphones wired into laptop computers to speed-dial phone numbers in search of noncommittal voters.
Across New Mexico, Sanders has raised slightly more than Clinton in direct campaign donations — $897,000 to Clinton's $857,000 through the end of April, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
As the primary approaches, pro-Sanders art and quilting sessions have given way to paid television advertisements that highlight issues of low wages and income inequality.
Clinton has locked in commitments from the majority of New Mexico's nine superdelegates, the party leaders who can back any candidate of their choice. She has tapped support from a long line of local powerbrokers, from the state attorney general to mayors of Democratic-dominated cities such as Santa Fe and Espanola.
Her campaign has deployed nine professional staffers in the state and launched initiatives tailored toward women, Hispanics and Native Americans.
In his visit to Santa Fe, Sanders urged followers to help him win 50 percent of pledged delegates "plus one" to provide hope of winning at the Democratic National Convention. An enthralled audience hung on Sanders' every sentence, with the candidate taking long pauses to avoid being drowned out by cheers and whistles.
"I love all of you, and I love your energy," Sanders told the rally of 2,400 people.
Michael Wolfe, a teacher at St. John's College in Santa Fe, said the odds are against a Sanders nomination. He took his 10-year-old daughter to see the candidate speak anyway because "I think this indicates the direction this country is going in the future."
Both Democratic hopefuls were briefly overshadowed by a raucous Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque last week, where protesters were pulled by security officers from a convention hall and skirmishes with police broke out in the surrounding streets.
By comparison, a two-day visit by Bill Clinton was a tranquil affair, with several hundred supporters gathering in the heavily Hispanic and Native American community of Espanola to hear an upbeat message about diversity and public policy prescriptions for student debt, unemployment and small-business incentives.
There was room to spare on a public plaza where Leroy Ortiz, 72, of Chimayo, a retired public school worker and two-time Bill Clinton voter, credited Hillary Clinton with the toughness needed to beat Trump and urged Sanders to step aside.
Sanders "knows he is going to lose the delegate count. He's doing more harm than good," Ortiz said.