Hillary Clinton is poised to start a streak of her own after Bernie Sanders capped off a stretch of seven wins in eight states, which culminated in last Saturday’s Wyoming caucuses.
With the remaining April primaries returning to the Northeast, the map is suddenly becoming very favourable to Clinton, the former secretary of state and Democratic frontrunner.
The RealClearPolitics average of recent state polls showed that Clinton with a 14-point lead in New York, a 16-point lead in Pennsylvania, and a 24-point lead in Maryland. Those three contests are the most delegate-rich states remaining this month.
A total of 531 delegates are at stake between just those three states. In contrast, the total number of delegates up for grabs in the seven most recent Sanders state wins was just 231; Sanders won 155 of them.
An additional 100 delegates are on the line in the other three remaining April states: Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware. No recent polling has been conducted in that trio, but polls from within the past six months showed Clinton holding leads in both Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Rolling through the April states would all but clinch the Democratic nomination for Clinton, who holds a big lead in unpledged superdelegates, pledged delegates, and the popular vote.
The primary calendar flip from pro-Sanders states to pro-Clinton states comes as the tensions in the Democratic race reached their highest point yet. Both candidates have traded sharp attacks as they have campaigned around New York, which votes next Tuesday.
For his part, Sanders has vowed to upset expectations in the Empire State, despite polls showing Clinton, a former New York US senator, ahead there.
Last week, Clinton said Sanders “hadn’t done his homework” on financial regulations and other issues after the Vermont senator fumbled an interview with the Daily News. Sanders responded by suggesting that Clinton might not be “qualified” for the presidency.
On Sunday, Sanders also suggested that Clinton’s judgment is “clearly lacking” on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“The point that I was making, which is absolutely correct, is that if you look at where she is getting the money from Wall Street, another powerful special interest, she voted for the war, she cited Henry Kissinger, in a sense, as a model for her,” Sanders said. “I think those issues will tell the American people that in many respects, she may have the experience to be president of the United States.”
In another Sunday interview, this one on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sanders further said he has “doubts about what kind of president she would make.”
Clinton fired back on Monday, claiming there’s a “growing level of anxiety” within the Sanders campaign. She also blasted the senator for past votes on immigration and on guns.
“Most of the guns that are used in crimes and violence and killings in New York come from out of state,” she said during a gun-violence panel on Monday in Port Washington, New York, per Politico. “And the state that has the highest per capita number of those guns that end up committing crimes in New York come from Vermont.”
Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, joined in on the attack as well. He accused Sanders of running harder against his wife, himself, and President Barack Obama than against the legacy of former President George W. Bush’s administration.
“After he’s been a Democrat a little while longer, he’ll get used to it, and he’ll realise that our party is the best hope this country’s got,” he said during a Brooklyn rally on Monday, Politico reported.
The next big date on the calendar is Thursday’s Democratic debate in Brooklyn, where the candidates are likely to exchange yet more blows.