The Latest: Sanders trims Clinton's delegate lead

AP News
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Posted: Mar 26, 2016 10:40 PM
The Latest: Sanders trims Clinton's delegate lead

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Democratic presidential nominating contests Saturday in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state (all times local):

10:37 p.m.

Bernie Sanders trimmed Hillary Clinton's delegate lead to below 300 delegates Saturday, having won big in Alaska and Washington state. But he still has a long way to go to catch up to her.

For the day, Sanders netted roughly two dozen delegates, winning at least 36 to Clinton's 11. Results from Hawaii are still to come and some delegates from Washington won't be allocated until weeks from now.

Based on primaries and caucuses to date, Clinton currently leads Sanders, 1,234 to 956. Clinton previously had a lead of more than 300 delegates after her five-state sweep on March 15.

Including superdelegates, or party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton's lead is much wider.

She now has at least 1,703, or 71 percent of the number needed to win.

Sanders has at least 985. He needs to win more than 67 percent of the remaining delegates and uncommitted superdelegates through June if he hopes to win the nomination.

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9:15 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tells The Associated Press that his caucus victories in Washington state and Alaska are part of a Western comeback.

The Vermont senator says he expects to close the delegate gap with front-runner Hillary Clinton as the Democratic contest moves to the more liberal Northeastern states, including her home state of New York.

Noting Clinton's victories in the Deep South, a region he says is very conservative, Sanders says his campaign expects to do much better in what he calls "a progressive part of the country."

In an interview Saturday night with the AP, Sanders also said that his campaign is increasing its outreach to the party insiders, called superdelegates, who can pick either candidate and are overwhelmingly with Clinton.

Sanders maintains that there is a path to victory for his campaign.

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8:45 p.m.

Bernie Sanders' wins in Saturday's Western caucus contests are giving a powerful psychological boost to his supporters but doing little to move him closer to securing the Democratic nomination.

His victories in Washington and Alaska barely dented Hillary Clinton's several hundred delegate lead.

Even so, they underscore her persistent vulnerabilities within her own party, particularly with young voters and liberal activists who have been inspired by her rival's liberal message. The two Democrats were also competing in Hawaii.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Wisconsin as votes were still being tallied in Washington state, Sanders cast his performance as part of a Western comeback. He cited recent victories in Utah and Idaho as a sign that his campaign still has a path to the nomination. Still he remains a longshot.

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7:45 p.m.

Bernie Sanders clearly had a good day, winning big in Washington state and Alaska. But that's not impacting Hillary Clinton's overall lead in the Democratic presidential race much due to a smaller pool of delegates at stake Saturday.

Ultimately, Sanders still needs to win more than 67 percent of remaining delegates from primaries and caucuses as well as uncommitted superdelegates to clinch the nomination.

Based on primaries and caucuses to date, Clinton now has 1,228 to Sanders' 947.

Including superdelegates, or party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton has at least 1,697 to Sanders' 976. It takes 2,383 to win.

Hawaii is also voting Saturday.

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6:40 p.m.

Basking in twin wins, Bernie Sanders says the West is putting him on path to an improbable success in the Democratic presidential race. Despite his victories in Alaska and Washington state in the latest voting, Hillary Clinton remains in a far stronger position to capture the nomination.

Even so, Sanders told a spirited rally in Madison, Wisconsin: "We knew things were going to improve as we headed West."

And he implored his cheering Wisconsin supporters to turn out in the state's April 5 Democratic contest and advance him on a "path toward victory."

He says he knew from the start of his campaign that he'd struggle in the Deep South but his fortunes would improve as the campaign went West.

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6:30 p.m.

Bernie Sanders' big win in Washington state means he stands to receive a majority of the state's delegates. But the exact tally may not be known for several weeks.

With 101 delegates at stake, Washington is the biggest prize of Saturday's three Democratic state caucuses.

Thirty-four of the Washington delegates are awarded on a statewide basis. Sanders will win at least 18 of those, and Hillary Clinton will receive at least five.

The remaining 67 delegates are awarded based on vote results in the state's congressional districts. Those delegates will be awarded at a later date, when the state Democratic Party releases the vote shares by congressional district.

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6:28 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic presidential caucuses in Washington state. It's the Vermont senator's second victory over front-runner Hillary Clinton in the three states holding party caucuses Saturday.

Sanders earlier won the Alaska caucuses. Hawaii is the third state holding a Democratic contest Saturday.

Sanders hopes the weekend votes will give him a boost in his efforts to make a comeback against front-runner Clinton.

Sanders has consistently drawn his strongest support from liberal voters and young people. Most of his victories have been in states with largely white populations and in states with caucus contests, which tend to attract the most active liberal Democrats.

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5:50 p.m.

Hundreds of Bernie Sanders supporters are packing the Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall in Madison, Wisconsin, waiting for the Vermont senator to take the stage.

Sixty-two-year-old James Nelson drove 30 miles from Pardeeville, Wisconsin, to see what Sanders has to offer. Nelson considers himself an independent and says only Sanders and Donald Trump don't seem to be bought and paid for among the presidential candidates.

Others, like 19-year-old University of Wisconsin student Alexandria Huebler, already know they're voting for Sanders. Huebler says the free college tuition caught her attention and that she appreciates Sanders' emphasis on social issues.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and others have been taking the stage throughout the afternoon, offering endorsements of Sanders.

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5:40 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is making a small dent in Hillary Clinton's delegate lead thanks to his win in Alaska.

With 16 Alaska delegates at stake, Sanders will pick up at least nine.

Hillary Clinton entered Saturday's contests with a lead of more than 300 delegates over Sanders.

She has 1,223 delegates, based on primaries and caucuses. Sanders now has at least 929.

Including superdelegates, or party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton has at least 1,692 to Sanders' 958. It takes 2,383 to win.

Washington state and Hawaii are also holding Democratic contests Saturday.

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5:24 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic presidential caucuses in Alaska. It's his first victory over front-runner Hillary Clinton in the three states holding party caucuses on Saturday.

Sanders hopes the weekend contests will help him launch a spring comeback against front-runner Clinton.

Washington and Hawaii are the other two states holding Democratic contests Saturday.

The Vermont senator spent much of the past week on the West Coast. He packed huge rallies in Seattle and other cities, as he sought to capitalize on his strong support among liberal voters.

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4:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are vying for 142 delegates in Saturday's contests in Washington state, Alaska and Hawaii. But the outcome for close to half of the delegates won't be known right away.

Only 34 of Washington's 101 delegates can be awarded Saturday or Sunday. The remaining 67 will be awarded in the coming weeks, when the state party releases vote shares by congressional district.

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Going into Saturday's three Democratic election contests, Hillary Clinton was leading Bernie Sanders 1,223 to 920 in delegates won in primaries and caucuses, according to AP's count.

When the party officials known as superdelegates are added to the mix, her lead over Sanders is 1,691 to 949. It takes 2,383 delegates overall to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination.

That means Sanders must win 58 percent of the remaining delegates from primaries and caucuses to have a majority of those delegates by the end of June.

The hurdle is higher when superdelegates are considered. Then he must win 67.5 percent of the remaining delegates from primaries and caucuses as well as uncommitted superdelegates to secure the nomination.

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4:15 p.m.

In Juneau, Alaska, Kirsa Hughes-Skandijs came out to support Bernie Sanders in the Democratic caucuses. She says this is the first time she's believed in a politician as someone who means what he says and doesn't say what he thinks people want to hear. And she considers Sanders more "mud proof" than Hillary Clinton.

Hughes-Skandijs is a 38-year-old state worker. She typically votes for the Green Party at the presidential level and says odds are good she'll do that again if Sanders doesn't become the Democratic nominee.

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3:45 p.m.

In Spokane, Washington, a huge line of people snaked around the parking lot of Ferris High School for Saturday's Democratic presidential caucuses.

Sixty-four-year-old Dan McLay showed up in a hard hat and joked that he needed it because he's a Hillary Clinton supporter in a crowd of Bernie Sanders fans.

McLay calls the Democratic front-runner a "comprehensive progressive" who's "sharp on all the issues" and has the experience to deal with danger like the bombings in Brussels.

Besides, he says he's wanted a woman as president since the 1960s.

But McLay acknowledges Sanders is a magnet for young people.

One of them, 25-year-old Jennifer Slaughter, a flute player for the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, showed up to caucus for Sanders. She says he holds consistent views and would take the big money out of politics.

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3:40 p.m.

In Seattle, Iraq veteran Preston Anderson joined a steady stream of people at a Democratic caucus site and explained why he showed up to support Bernie Sanders. Anderson served in Iraq for 11 months as an Army sergeant and now works at Seattle's veterans' hospital.

He sees Hillary Clinton as a hawkish politician who helped rush the country into the Iraq war. Anderson prefers Sanders for wanting a more measured response before going to war. Clinton voted to authorize the Iraq war in 2002 when she was in the Senate.

People coming to the caucus in Seattle's Central District neighborhood were greeted mostly by Sanders organizers and by the socialist councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who is also supporting him.

Also at the site, 19-year-old Sarah Blazevic came out for Sanders. She's a university student home for the Easter break and likes his proposal for free college. Blazevic also finds Sanders more authentic than Clinton, though she adds she'll vote for whoever becomes the Democratic nominee.

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3:30 p.m.

In Olympia, Washington, 61-year-old Laura Schleyer wore home-made "Unidos con Bernie" ears — meaning united with Bernie — at a bustling Democratic caucus site where the crowd was so large some had to be moved from an elementary school cafeteria to the gym.

The substitute teacher and Bernie Sanders supporter says she loves the vibrant debate at caucuses. As she put it: "It to me is about the only democratic thing we have left. I love being in a room with people that are my neighbors, that I care about, that are caring about something. And we're here together."

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3 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is pushing for a trifecta of wins in Democratic presidential caucuses in Hawaii, Alaska and Washington state. He's hoping to stage a spring comeback against the commanding front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

The Vermont senator has spent much of the week on the West Coast, trying to build his enduring support among liberal activists into a sweep Saturday. That could help him narrow a gap of 300 delegates won in primaries behind Clinton.

According to an Associated Press analysis, Sanders would need to get more than 67 percent of the total remaining delegates won in the primaries and uncommitted superdelegates to take the nomination.

While Sanders faces a steep climb to the nomination, a string of losses for Clinton in the latest voting would highlight her persistent vulnerabilities.

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