Hillary Clinton’s path to the Democratic presidential nomination became much clearer on Tuesday with easy primary victories over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in delegate-heavy Florida and Ohio.
The Democratic party favorite was also projected to win North Carolina and Illinois. Clinton also appeared poised to take Missouri. She led Sanders by around 1,600 votes with 99.9 percent of precincts counted.
Tuesday’s outcome comes as a relief to the Clinton campaign, which suffered a stunning defeat in the Michigan primary last week. Clinton had been leading by as much as 20 points in polls taken before that contest but ended up losing to Sanders by one and a half points.
The campaign spent the week lowering expectations across the board, while grappling with a series of gaffes from the former secretary of state.
On Friday, Clinton drew heavy criticism for saying during an interview at Nancy Reagan’s funeral that the former first lady and President Ronald Reagan led the charge to fight HIV/AIDS when they were in the White House. Progressives jumped on the comments, asserting that the Reagans largely ignored the AIDS epidemic.
Clinton also came under fire for bragging during a town hall on Sunday that a Clinton administration will “put a lot of coal companies and coal miners out of business.”
And during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Monday, Clinton defended her push to intervene in Libya in 2011, saying that the U.S. “didn’t lose a single person” in the north African country. She apparently forgot about the four Americans killed during the terrorist attacks in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
But those remarks appear to not have harmed Clinton on Tuesday. She outperformed polling in Florida and Ohio, which carry 214 and 143 delegates, respectively. In Florida, she received 65 percent of the vote with nearly all precincts counted. In Ohio, she received nearly 57 percent of the vote.
In her victory speech, Clinton focused heavily on GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who also had a big night with wins in the winner-take-all Florida primary and victories in North Carolina and Illinois.
“When we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States — when he embraces torture, that doesn’t make him strong, it makes him wrong,” Clinton told supporters gathered in Florida.
Clinton now has 1488 delegates to Sanders’ 704. The Democratic nominee must reach 2,383 — a threshold which appears to be well within Clinton’s reach.