Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders

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Bernie Sanders Scores Big Win in Michigan

Sanders upsets Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton; Republican front-runner Donald Trump takes three states.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton was expected to win the Michigan primary on Tuesday, but her campaign suffered a blow when her competitor, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, won Michigan by a tight margin. Clinton won Mississippi by a landslide with 83 percent of the vote, but Michigan was the big prize on Tuesday because it was the state with the most delegates up for grabs. Democrats had contests only in those two states.

“What we have done is create the kind of momentum that we need to win,” Sanders said on Tuesday. “This has been a fantastic night in Michigan.”

In primaries and caucuses, candidates aren’t only trying to win the most states. They’re really concerned with getting the most delegates. Delegates are members of a political party who will nominate the party’s official candidate at their convention this summer. The number of delegates awarded by each state is based on population. States with more people have more delegates, so doing well in states with the biggest populations is important for candidates.

On the Republican side, billionaire businessman Donald Trump added to his delegate lead by winning three states—Hawaii, Michigan, and Mississippi. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won Idaho.

Forging Ahead

Two other Republicans remain in the race, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Ohio Governor John Kasich. Rubio came in fourth in Michigan and Mississippi and third in Idaho and Hawaii. But he’s hoping for a strong showing in his home state of Florida on March 15.

Kasich came in third in Michigan and Mississippi and fourth in Hawaii and Idaho, but vows to continue his campaign. He hopes to win his home state of Ohio next Tuesday.

"One week from tonight, we are going to win the state of Ohio, and it will be a whole new ball game," he said.

Both the Florida and Ohio Republican primaries are extremely important because the winners in those states get all of their delegates. Until now, delegates have been awarded to Republican candidates proportionally, or based on what percentage of the vote they win. But going forward, in some states, including Florida and Ohio, the candidate who wins the majority of votes will get all of those states’ delegates. The Democrats will continue to award delegates proportionally.

Next Tuesday, in addition to Florida and Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina will vote. Florida is the biggest state at stake, with 99 delegates up for grabs for the Republicans and 246 for the Democrats.

To see how each candidate is doing so far, check out our election map at