A Split for Sanders and Clinton
Bernie Sanders takes Oregon, while Hillary Clinton claims
victory in Kentucky.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont easily beat front-runner Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary in Oregon held on Tuesday. Sanders won about 55 percent of the votes to Clinton’s almost 45 percent. Meanwhile, Clinton declared a victory, but just barely, in an extremely close primary in Kentucky. With most of the ballots counted, she had almost 47 percent of the votes compared with Sanders’s 46 percent.
The results of Tuesday’s primaries aren’t likely to change the outcome of the race. Clinton maintains a strong lead over Sanders. She has 1,767 delegates. Sanders has 1,488.
Political experts say Clinton is almost certain to win the nomination. However, Sanders has recently won several states, and that has raised concerns about how well Clinton would fare in the general election in November. By staying in the race, Sanders has also kept Clinton from being able to shift all of her attention to preparing for the general election. But in a speech Tuesday night, Sanders said he has no intention of dropping out.
“Let me be as clear as I can be,” he said. “We are in until the last ballot is cast.”
The Republicans also held a primary in Oregon on Tuesday. (The Kentucky Republican caucus was held on March 5). But the results came as no surprise, as Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate still in the race. Trump won easily, with 67 percent of the votes.
What’s So Super About Superdelegates?
To become the Democratic nominee for president, a candidate needs to win 2,383 delegates. Both Clinton and Sanders would likely need the help of superdelegates to reach that number. Superdelegates are members of the party, such as governors, members of Congress, and other politicians. Unlike the delegates that candidates win in state elections (called pledged delegates) superdelegates can choose any candidate to support.
Clinton currently leads Sanders in superdelegates. She has 524, compared with Sanders’s 40. But superdelegates can change their votes. Sanders hopes he can convince them to do so by showing that he would be the stronger candidate in the general election.
The next contest will be on May 24, when the Republicans hold a primary in Washington State. Then it’s on to a big Democratic showdown on June 7. That’s when California, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Montana all hold primaries. The North Dakota Democratic caucus is also scheduled for that day. With a large number of delegates up for grabs, the results of that day will likely determine the Democratic nominee for president.