Bernie Sanders breathed new life into his long-shot presidential bid with a crucial win in Michigan’s primary Tuesday night. The Vermont Senator is chipping away at Hillary Clinton’s dominance in the Democratic presidential race. Meanwhile Republican Donald Trump swept to victory in both Michigan and Mississippi, overcoming fierce efforts to blunt his momentum.
Even with Sanders’ win, Clinton and Trump moved closer to a general election face-off. Clinton breezed to an easy victory in Mississippi, propelled by overwhelming support from black voters, and she now has more than half the delegates she needs to clinch the Democratic nomination. Trump, too, padded his lead over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz his closest rival.
The front-runners turned their sights on November as they reveled in their wins.
Sanders, meanwhile, said Michigan signaled that his campaign “is strong in every part of the country, and frankly we believe our strongest areas are yet to happen.”
While a handful of recent losses to Cruz have raised questions about Trump’s durability, Tuesday’s contests marked another lost opportunity for rivals desperate to stop his march to the nomination. Next week’s winner-take-all contests in Ohio and Florida loom large as perhaps the last chance to block him short of a contested convention fight.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich was in a fight with Cruz for second place in Michigan and hoping a good showing would give him a boost heading into next week’s crucial contest in his home state.
For Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Tuesday marked the latest in a series of disappointing nights. He emerged from Michigan and Mississippi with no new delegates, a grim outcome for a candidate who has the overwhelming support from Republican senators, governors and other elected officials.
Rubio insisted he would press on to his home state’s primary in Florida next Tuesday.
After Tuesday’s results, Clinton has accumulated 1,214 delegates and Sanders 566, including superdelegates. Democrats need 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.
With Tuesday’s wins, Trump leads the Republican field with 428 delegates, followed by Cruz with 315, Rubio with 151 and Kasich with 52. Winning the GOP nomination requires 1,237 delegates.