Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Ted Cruz won the Maine caucuses late Sunday, beating out front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
With 91 percent of the results counted, Sanders clinched 64.3% of the vote and 15 delegates, while Clinton garnered 35.5% and seven delegates. In the Republican caucus, Cruz led with 45.9% of the vote (12 delegates), followed by Trump with 32.6% (9 delegates). Republican candidates John Kasich and Marco Rubio trailed with 12.2% and 8% respectively.
It was an expected win for Sanders, who enjoys strong backing in the region and hails from nearby Vermont.
“I thank the people of Maine for their strong support,” his campaign said in a statement.
“With another double-digit victory, we have now won by wide margins in states from New England to the Rocky Mountains and from the Midwest to the Great Plains.”
Clinton and Sanders also faced off in a televised debate in Flint, Michigan, just two days before a crucial primary in that delegate-rich northern industrial state.
They tackled the scandal surrounding the lead-contaminated water in the city, with Sanders railing against the “disgrace beyond belief” and both calling for more accountability.
On Saturday, Clinton won in Louisiana, the biggest prize of the night, but Sanders won in Kansas and Nebraska. If his Maine win is confirmed, that would push his total to eight victories in 19 contests.
Clinton was favored in Louisiana thanks to overwhelming support from African American voters, while Sanders has tended to do best in states with largely white voters.
After Saturday’s contests, Clinton had 1,121 delegates, nearly half the 2,383 needed to win the Democratic nomination.
But speaking at the CNN debate, Sanders sought to stress his campaign was on an upswing.
“Just in the last two days, we have won the caucuses in Maine — we won that tonight with a very large turnout — we won Nebraska, we won Kansas, and Kansas was the biggest turnout in their caucus history,” he said.
“I think we are exciting working class people, young people who are prepared to stand up and demand that we have a government that represents all of us and not just the few.”
Source: Times of Israel