Senator Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic presidential caucuses in Alaska and Washington, slightly narrowing party’s front-runner Hillary Clinton’s significant delegate lead in the race to the White House.
Sanders, 74, swept Washington state by getting more than 72 per cent of the total votes counted. In Alaska, he received more than 79 per cent of the votes, when last report came in.
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.
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 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.
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 USD 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 1228 delegates she won during the presidential primaries and 469 super delegates who have said they would vote for her.
The position of super delegates are 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.
“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.