Trump rolls unrivaled, Sanders takes West Virginia
WASHINGTON – Agence France-PressePresumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump cruised to victory in two more states May 10, while Bernie Sanders beat rival Democrat Hillary Clinton in West Virginia, bolstering his case for remaining in the race.
Massive wins in West Virginia and Nebraska put Trump ever closer to clinching the 1,237 delegates he needs to be declared the party’s nominee at its convention in July.
“Thank you West Virginia!” and “Thank you Nebraska!” he said in a pair of tweets.
Now the sole Republican candidate in the contest after his remaining rivals dropped out last week, Trump is transitioning from the fierce primary battles with the likes of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to a general election showdown with Clinton, even amid deep Republican discord about the celebrity billionaire.
He has narrowed his picks for running mate, telling Fox News he is considering five vice president options.
“I think they are excellent,” he added. “I’ll announce whoever it will be at the convention” in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump said.
With Republican concern about their nominee sizzling, a Quinnipiac University poll out May 10 showed Trump closing in on Clinton’s lead in two major battleground states - Florida and Pennsylvania - and overtaking her in swing state Ohio.
No candidate has won the presidential election without taking at least two of those three states.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seized on the polls, telling reporters, “the early indications are that our nominee is likely to be very competitive.”
Despite Clinton’s overwhelming delegate lead, Sanders ensured the race would go on with his win in West Virginia, where he won more than 51 percent to Clinton’s 36 percent with more than 95 percent of the vote counted.
With eight contests remaining, “we think we have a good chance to win many of those states,” Sanders told supporters May 10 in San Francisco, according to CBS News.
“We now have won primaries and caucuses in 19 states,” Sanders was reported as saying at another rally in Oregon. “Let me be as clear as I can be: We are in this campaign to win the Democratic nomination.”
Quinnipiac’s poll also found that Sanders, a democratic socialist who commands an enthusiastic following on the left, would do better against Trump than Clinton in all three states if he were the Democratic nominee.
The 74-year-old Vermont senator, who defeated Clinton in Indiana, has mounted an unyielding come-from-behind challenge that has exposed weaknesses in the former secretary of state’s campaign.
Although almost certain to win the Democratic nomination - she is only about 160 delegates short of that goal - Clinton’s ability to excite young and white working-class Democrats going into the general election has been put in doubt by Sanders’s primary successes.