WASHINGTON (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday endorsed Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, saying it was the only way to keep Republican Donald Trump out of the White House.
"I have decided to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton because I believe this is the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump," Brown said in a letter to California Democrats and independents posted online.
Brown, a popular Democrat who has steered the nation's most populous state on a centrist path, praised Clinton's rival, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, but noted that she had won about 3 million more votes and hundreds more delegates.
"In other words, Clinton's lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee."
California is the biggest prize of the six states that hold presidential nominating contests on June 7, with 475 delegates.
Clinton has secured 2,310 delegates, 73 short of the number needed to clinch her party's nomination for the Nov. 8 election.
As he noted in his letter, Brown himself waged a populist presidential campaign in 1992, losing to then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, with themes similar to many espoused by Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist.
Running on the slogan "We the People," Brown railed against the influence of money in Washington and said politicians were "bought and paid for."
But Brown said Democrats need to stop fighting each other so they can focus on beating Trump, who he said presents a danger to immigrants, the environment and world peace.
"The stakes couldn't be higher. Our country faces an existential threat from climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons. A new Cold War is on the horizon," Brown wrote.
"Hillary Clinton, with her long experience, especially as secretary of state, has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead our country on day one."
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Paul Simao)