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Clinton edges closer to nomination with Arizona win

·White House Correspondent
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Hillary Clinton continued her march toward the Democratic presidential nomination with a win over Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., in the coveted Arizona primary on Tuesday evening.

Sanders was projected to win the Utah and Idaho caucuses.

Clinton came into Tuesday ahead of Sanders by more than 300 delegates, after winning all five states that voted on March 15. Her existing delegate lead is so big, he would have to win all remaining contests with at least 60 percent of the vote to overtake her. Any loss, or victory with a smaller margin, puts Sanders farther behind.

Speaking to her supporters in Seattle, Clinton declared she was “very proud to have won Arizona tonight.” Calling attention to the bombings that rocked Belgium on Tuesday morning, the former secretary of state pivoted to the general election and attacked the top Republican candidates for their responses.

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Hillary Clinton at Chief Leschi School in Puyallup, Wash., on Tuesday. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

“The last thing we need, my friends, are leaders who incite more fear. In the face of terror, America doesn’t panic. We don’t build walls or turn our backs on our allies,” Clinton said. “We can’t throw out everything we know about what works and what doesn’t and start torturing people. What Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and others are suggesting is not only wrong, it’s dangerous.”

At an event in San Diego, shortly after Clinton’s win in Arizona was announced, Sanders made a speech emphasizing that he began the primaries as an underdog.

“When we began this campaign about 10 months ago, we were 3 percent in the polls, about 70 points behind Secretary Clinton. As of today, last poll that I saw, we are 5 points behind, and we’re gaining,” Sanders said, before adding, “We have now won 10 primaries and caucuses and, unless I’m very mistaken, we’re going to win a couple more tonight.”

Massive turnout in Arizona led to long lines at the polls, and there were still people waiting to vote after news organizations projected the results. On Twitter, the Sanders campaign posted a message urging Arizonans to “stay in line.”

“Every vote counts,” the tweet said.

Though the delegate math appears daunting for Sanders, he has indicated that he is in the race for the long haul. Sanders and his campaign believe some of the upcoming states on the primary calendar, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, are more favorable to him. In an email to supporters on Tuesday, Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said they “said all along that March 15 would be the high-water mark for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

“Now the map shifts in our favor, and we’re going to begin clawing back delegates in state after state until we capture the lead on June 7,” Weaver wrote.

Updated March 23, 2016 1:41 a.m.

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