Update on 27 March: Bernie Sanders got three for three on Saturday with a final huge victory in Hawaii that sealed the trio of Western caucus wins that the senator was banking on to obtain a fresh boost for his presidential aspirations. Sanders received 70 percent of the presidential preference vote in the Aloha State, compared to 30 percent for Hillary Clinton. That meant Sanders received 17 delegates, while Clinton got eight. In Washington the Vermont senator won 68 delegates, compared to Clinton’s 21* while in the much smaller Alaska he won 13 delegates compared to three for Clinton, according to FiveThirtyEight.
When all was said and done, the trio of victories did little to dent Clinton’s advantage in the delegate math as the former secretary of State now has 1,243 delegates compared to 975 for Sanders. Once superdelegates are taken into account, the lead grows to 1,712 to 1,004, according to the Associated Press.
“I want to thank the people of Hawaii for their strong support and for turning out in huge numbers for Saturday’s caucuses. Nobody should have any doubt that this campaign has extraordinary momentum and that we have a path toward victory,” Sanders said. “In state after state, our grassroots effort has taken on the entire political establishment.”
Update at 7:30 p.m.: As expected, Saturday turned out to be a big day for Bernie Sanders, who won big victories in Alaska and Washington. With 73 percent of the precincts reporting, Sanders had 79 percent of the vote in Alaska, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 21 percent. In Washington state, by far the biggest prize of the night, Sanders had 74 percent of the vote, compared to Clinton’s 26 percent with 46 percent reporting.
“We just won the state of Washington. That is what momentum is about,” Sanders said at a rally in Madison, Wisconsin. “Don’t let anybody tell you we can’t win the nomination or we can’t win the general election. We’re going to do both of those things.”
The decisive victory in the delegate-rich Washington still leaves Sanders far from Clinton in the delegate count but gives him a clear sense of momentum, and a likely fundraising boost, before the April 5 primaries in Wisconsin.
Original post at 6:29 p.m.: Bernie Sanders looks set for a great Saturday night as three states could help the senator from Vermont close a bit of the delegate gap in the Democratic race. Sanders got one state in his column right off the bat on Saturday as Alaska Democrats selected him as their favorite to go to the White House. It wasn’t even close. With almost half of the precincts reporting, Sanders had 79 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 21 percent.
Early results also put Sanders ahead in Washington state, which is clearly the biggest prize of the night with 101 delegates at stake. Alaska, in comparison has only 16 delegates up for grabs while Hawaii, the other of the three states voting on Saturday, has 25. With 29 percent of the precincts reporting, Sanders is trouncing Clinton with 77 percent of the support compared to Clinton’s 23 percent.
Record turnout was reported in many precincts in both Alaska and Washington. At Seattle’s Town Hall, for example, some precincts were forced to meet in the parking lot because of the sheer number of people who turned out. There were also some who were forced to vote in parking lots in Alaska, where there were lots of delays in several polling stations that were overwhelmed by the huge turnout.
Sanders has been pushing for big victories on Saturday, counting on them to provide fresh momentum for his candidacy. He held a series of last-minute rallies in Washington that proved the appeal he holds in the state. “I believe if we win here in Washington, we’re going to win in California, we are going to win in Oregon, and we’ve got a real path toward victory,” he told a rally on Friday night.
Before Saturday’s contests, Clinton had a lead of 300 pledged delegates. Once super delegates are added into the equation, Clinton’s lead soared to 1,690 delegates compared to 946 for Sanders.
Correction: This piece initially misstated the number of delegates Hillary Clinton obtained in Washington.