The 2016 presidential primary season is still moving along, and the weekend was host to three more Democratic contests. Bernie Sanders was the big winner, racking up wins in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state.
As NPR reports, he won each state by a wide margin: 82 percent of the vote in Alaska, 70 percent in Hawaii and 73 percent in Washing state. When it was over, he had added 55 pledged delegates to his column. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, won 20. Overall, Clinton has 1,243 pledged delegates to Sanders’ 975; throwing in super-delegates, Clinton has 1,712 to Sanders’ 1,004. The Vermont senator needs to win 57 percent of the remaining delegates to reach the 2,383 required to secure his party’s nomination.
While significant, the wins were not surprising. Sanders has consistently done well at caucuses, and he had a meaningful endorsement from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who resigned from her position as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee last month and announced her support for Sanders.
His campaign sees the wins as a shift in momentum as voting heads to more progressive states. From an interview with the Associated Press:
Sanders cast his performance as part of a Western comeback, saying he expects to close the delegate gap with Clinton as the contest moves to the more liberal northeastern states, including her home state of New York. He also said his campaign is increasing its outreach to superdelegates, the party insiders who can pick either candidate and are overwhelmingly with Clinton.
“The Deep South is a very conservative part of the country,” he said. “Now that we’re heading into a progressive part of the country, we expect to do much better.”
He added: “There is a path to victory.” With Clinton far in front, however, it is a difficult path.