Clinton claims Kentucky, Sanders takes Oregon in Democratic duel
WASHINGTON – Agence France-PresseHillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Kentucky May 17 as she sought to put away Bernie Sanders, but her resilient rival for the Democratic presidential nomination bounced back to snatch a win in Oregon.
With the Kentucky race too close for most U.S. networks to call a winner, Clinton declared victory shortly after Kentucky’s secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes announced on CNN that Clinton was the unofficial winner in her state.
“We just won Kentucky! Thanks to everyone who turned out,” Clinton tweeted.
With 99.8 percent of Blue Grass state precincts reporting, Clinton led Sanders by 46.8 percent to 46.3 percent - a margin of less than 2,000 votes.
Should the results hold, the win would blunt Sanders’s momentum and help Clinton move closer toward clinching the Democratic presidential nomination.
But the psychological win was short-lived. Half an hour after polls closed in Oregon, U.S. networks projected Sanders the winner there, besting Clinton 53 percent to 47 percent.
“We just won Oregon, and we’re going to win California,” Sanders told thousands of supporters in Carson, California as he predicted victory in the nation’s largest state, which votes on June 7.
Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist, declared he would not be forced out of the race by narrow Clinton wins.
“It appears tonight that we’re going to end up with about half the delegates” in Kentucky, Sanders told the raucous rally.
“Let me be as clear as I can be... We are in ‘til the last ballot is cast,” he said to a huge roar.
Clinton has a commanding lead in the all-important national delegate count and is marching toward vying for the presidency in the Nov. 8 general election despite her string of recent primary losses.
Victories in Kentucky and Oregon would have definitively halted her slide and helped reverse the narrative that her campaign is showing significant weakness ahead of an almost certain showdown with Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.
Trump -- the last man standing in the GOP race -- was projected Oregon’s Republican winner, moving closer to the 1,237 delegates he needs to officially claim the party’s mantle in 2016.