Washington: Democrat hopeful Bernie Sanders won the primary in West Virginia — a state where rival and party front-runner Hillary Clinton had won in 2008.
With 61.7 percent of precincts by Tuesday evening, Sanders led Clinton 51 percent to 36.7 percent, Politico reported.
“With our victory tonight (Tuesday night) in West Virginia, we have now won primaries and caucuses in 19 states. And let me be as clear as I can be: We are in this campaign to win the Democratic nomination,” Sanders told a cheering crowd of supporters in Salem, Oregon, which will go to polls on May 17.
In a separate statement released by Sanders’ campaign, the Vermont senator thanked “the people of West Virginia for the tremendous victory they gave us today in a state that provided a landslide vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008.”
Clinton beat then Senator Barack Obama by 40 points in 2008, a stark contrast.
“West Virginia is a working-class state and many of the people there are hurting. They know, like most Americans, that it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. They want real change,” Sanders said.
Democrats also voted on Tuesday in a presidential “beauty contest” in Nebraska, although the delegates from that state were all previously assigned during a March 5 caucus. In that contest, Sanders won 15 pledged delegates, compared to 10 for Clinton.
So far, Clinton is leading Sanders by 1,705 to 1,415 in pledged delegates and 523 to 39 in superdelegates, an overall lead of 2,228 to 1,454.
With only 926 pledged delegates remaining, Sanders’ hopes rest with superdelegates deciding to abandon Clinton in large numbers.
Meanwhile, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump, whose last remaining competitors exited the race after Trump’s victory in Indiana last week, also won in West Virginia on Tuesday, easily.
Trump also rolled to victory in Nebraska, where 36 delegates were at stake.
Exit polls on Tuesday found only 33 percent of West Virginia Democrats are committed to voting Democrat in November.
Around 27 percent of the state’s Democrats said they would vote for Trump and 36 percent said it would depend.