Hillary Clinton scored a decisive win in Mississippi’s Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, but Bernie Sanders pulled out a close, unexpected victory in delegate-rich Michigan.
Major news organizations called Mississippi for Clinton soon after the polls closed, but waited more than two hours, until after 11 p.m. Eastern, before declaring Sanders the winner in Michigan.
In Michigan, the Vermont senator claimed 50 percent of the vote and the former secretary of State 48 percent, with 92 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. As the state's 130 Democratic delegates are awarded proportionally, Sanders has 63 and Clinton 53, with the rest to be determined, AP reports.
In Mississippi, with 94 percent reporting as of 11:40 p.m. Eastern, Clinton has 83 percent of the vote and Sanders 17 percent, the AP reports. Of the state's 36 delegates, she has 28 and Sanders one, with the rest to be distributed.
Exit polls indicate that in Mississippi, Clinton, as expected, did very well with African-Americans, women, and older voters, NBC reports. In that state she also bested Sanders among men, whites, and voters under age 45, groups she has not captured in previous primaries. But Sanders claimed a third of the African-American vote in Michigan, a larger percentage than he has elsewhere, MSNBC reports. And he did well with young voters and independents in the state, which has an open primary.
The Michigan win was Sanders's "first in a big and relatively diverse state," notes MSNBC. At a press conference in Miami, where he and Clinton will debate Wednesday evening, he called Tuesday "a fantastic night" and predicted, “Our strongest areas are yet to happen.”
With primaries coming up in populous states such as Florida, Ohio, and Illinois, Sanders still trails Clinton in the delegate count, with 571 to her 1,221. It takes 2,383 to win the nomination. A Clinton aide sounded an optimistic note Tuesday night, MSNBC reports.
“We feel confident she is going to be the nominee, but the race will continue to be competitive through the next week,” communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters at a Clinton rally in Cleveland. “We would like to wrap it up as soon as possible because you don’t want the Republican nominee to get, if they wrap up soon, we don’t want to be far behind them.”