Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ recent surge in Nevada ultimately fell short Saturday. But afterward, he argued it signalled a momentous turn in the race.
Sanders, a senator from Vermont, lost out to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Saturday Nevada caucuses.
With 73% of precincts reporting, Clinton maintained a 52.3% to 47.7% lead over Sanders, The Associated Press reported.
That final result, Sanders noted in a statement afterward, was much more narrow than the deficit he faced months and even weeks ago.
“I just spoke to Secretary Clinton and congratulated her on her victory here in Nevada. I am very proud of the campaign we ran. Five weeks ago we were 25 points behind and we ended up in a very close election. And we probably will leave Nevada with a solid share of the delegates,” Sanders said in the statement distributed by his campaign.
Sanders was coming off a massive win in the New Hampshire primary over Clinton earlier this month. However, that state contained a nearly all-white voting block. Nevada’s demographic makeup was much different, with minority voters making up more than 40% of the electorate, according to NBC News, which reported that Clinton won the black vote by a wide margin.
Sanders did close the gap in recent weeks. And in a separate message to supporters Saturday, he said the Nevada result proved the campaign “could win anywhere.”
“I want to be completely clear with you about what this result means: Nevada was supposed to be a state ‘tailor made’ for the Clinton campaign, and a place she once led by almost 40 points,” he said. “But today, we sent a message that will stun the political and financial establishment of this country: our campaign can win anywhere.”
He continued: “We’re closing the gap dramatically in states that have yet to vote, and there’s a path to victory for our political revolution. If we continue to stand together, we’ll continue to win.”
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