Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held off Bernie Sanders in Illinois’ Democratic primary Tuesday night, picking up a big win in her effort to secure the Democratic nomination.
The results in Illinois were close, with Clinton beating Sanders by about 51 percent to 48 percent, and since Illinois’ 156 delegates will be awarded proportionally, the result won’t do much to expand Clinton’s overall delegate lead. But the win is still important since Clinton is already leading and has now denied Sanders a critical opportunity to cut into her current advantage.
The defeat is a bitter disappointment for the Sanders campaign, which whiffed on one of its dwindling opportunities to turn the tide against Clinton. Polling of Illinois prior to Tuesday suggested Clinton had a small lead, but following a stunning win in Michigan there was hope in the Sanders camp that he could net another upset and build up momentum going into a stretch of states that will likely be friendly territory.
With Sanders also losing in Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, Tuesday’s results could be lethal for his presidential aspirations.
The results in Illinois reflected the major divides within the Democratic base. Most of the state’s counties, with their mostly-white populations, went for Sanders, but Clinton won Chicago with its heavy concentration of minority voters, and that was enough to balance out everywhere else.
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