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Sanders crushes Clinton in Alaska, Washington caucuses

PTI Washington | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 27, 2016

Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders speak simultaneously during the Democratic US presidential candidates' debate in Flint, Michigan. (file photo)

Bernie Sanders swept to resounding victories in the Democratic presidential caucuses in Alaska and Washington, putting the brakes on front-runner Hillary Clinton’s drive to secure the party’s nomination for the White House.

Sanders, 74, won Washington state by getting more than 72 per cent of the total votes counted. In Alaska, he received more than 80 per cent of the votes.

For Clinton, 68, who continues to lead in the delegate count and her path to the White House appears to be much easier as compared to Sanders, a defeat in the crucial state of Washington is seen as a major setback.

Home to major iconic US companies like Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks, Washington state has more than 100 delegates, a large chunk of which has now gone to Sanders.

He aimed for a third victory in Hawaii where he has been bolstered by the endorsement of Tulsi Gabbard, the first-ever Hindu elected to the US Congress, who resigned from a high post within the Democratic party to support the Vermont Senator and has appeared in an ad on behalf of his campaign.

Clintons, including the former president Bill Clinton, and their daughter Chelsie Clinton, spend quite a bit of time in Washington.

In Alaska, which has 16 delegates at stake, the wife of Sanders campaigned for a few days.

“It is hard for anybody to deny that our campaign has the momentum,” Sanders had yesterday told more than 8,100 cheering supporters who filled an arena on the University of Wisconsin campus last night after results of the primaries in Washington and Alaska were out.

“We knew things were going to improve as we headed West,” Sanders said.

He said the momentum building behind his campaign comes from big crowds at rallies, from overwhelming victories, from record turnouts at caucuses and primaries, from a grassroots campaign taking on the political establishment and from more than two million supporters who donated less than $30 apiece on average.

“We are on a path toward victory,” Sanders said in Wisconsin, where the Democratic primaries are scheduled for April 5. There are 86 pledged delegates at stake in Wisconsin.

To become a Democratic party presidential nominee, Clinton or Sanders need at least 2,382 delegates of the total 4,763 delegates, including 712 super delegates, who are party office bearers and are not elected as part of the presidential primaries. Super delegates are independent and are free to vote to any of the candidates.

So far, Clinton leads the race to the White House in the Democratic party as she has 1,697 delegates. This includes 1,228 delegates she won during the presidential primaries and 469 super delegates who have said they would vote for her.

The position of super delegates is subject to change.

On the other hand, Sanders has 976 delegates to his kitty. These include 947 delegates won by him and 29 super delegates, who have pledged support to him.

Even though Wisconsin could be fertile territory for Sanders on April 5, Clinton is poised to do well in her home state of New York on April 19 with its 247 pledged delegates.

She also faces favourable territory in the upcoming Super Tuesday contest on April 26 when Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Maryland voters head to the polls and nearly 400 pledged delegates are at stake.

“Bernie Sanders is not just earning the delegates he needs to win, he is showing DC’s professional pundit class that, despite their premature eulogising of his progressive political revolution, the fight for the Democratic nomination is far from over,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director, Democracy for America.

Published on March 27, 2016
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