Brooklyn — Supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders are staying positive after Hillary Clinton won by nearly 20 points in the New York primary, further cementing her status as the Democratic party’s frontrunner.
“It’s not over,” Sanders supporter Maria Bolton-Joubert told Business Insider at a Brooklyn watch party put on by the Sanders campaign. The 34-year-old supporter travelled to New York from Orlando, Florida to canvas for the candidate.
“The momentum is here,” she continued. “The mass media is now paying attention.”
New York City Council Member Rafael Espinal of Brooklyn found positives in Sanders’ performance on Tuesday.
“I think we did what we had to do, and it showed that Bernie Sanders is strong right here in our city,” he told supporters following the announcement of Clinton’s victory. “We’re doing a lot better than Obama did when he ran here in this city” against Clinton in 2008.
But Sanders supporters were expecting a closer race between the two following a two-week stretch of heavy campaigning in the state, leading up to a contentious debate last Thursday in Brooklyn.
Sanders underperformed his RealClearPolitics polling average in New York on Tuesday with roughly 94% of precincts reporting as of 11:30 p.m. EST, per The Associated Press.
Both Ranata Dlabacko and Dylan Kelly, a pair of 23-year-olds from Orlando who travelled to New York to canvas for Sanders, expected their candidate to do much better in the Empire State.
“I think it will be close either way” Dlabacko said. “I’m hoping that he will win, but it will be close.”
She later added that Sanders should stay in the race “no matter what happens” through the California primary in June.
Kelly laid the blame of Sanders’ loss on the structure of the New York primary.
“I’m very, very concerned of the votes getting purged from the Democratic Party in Brooklyn,” Kelly said, referencing the reports of more than 125,000 Brooklyn voters being unable to vote due to a New York Board of Elections system error. “The all-around mess happening in precincts around the district. This accumulation of errors or debacles, it’s frustrating. Bernie’s clearly performed very well among New York voters. I think if it’d been an open primary, it would have been a blowout for us. But, by running as a Democrat he agreed to the rules.”
Kelly suggested that a loss of less than five points would mark a successful night for Bernie. Per the AP’s total as of 11:30 p.m. EST., Sanders trailed Clinton by more than 15%.
A fair number of Clinton supporters were on hand at the watch party, which was held at the
Koelner BierHalle, a venue originally booked to hold a Brooklyn Young Democrats watch party. There was a smattering of cheers and boos when Clinton was announced the winner just after 9:30 p.m.
“I mean I’m definitely disappointed,” said Kayla Santosuosso, a 26-year-old Sanders supporter from Bay Ridge, a neighbourhood in Brooklyn.
Santosuosso said she was a part of a group that knocked on hundreds of doors on behalf of Sanders on Tuesday.
Regardless of whether Sanders secures the nomination, Mohammad Khan, a 30-year-old Sanders supporter from Queens, said the senator’s campaign has brought Clinton further to the left, an outcome he deemed a major success.
“It’s also a success for Hillary because having Hillary come closer to the heart of the Democratic Party instead of being further out toward the center or toward the right, is going to help her become a stronger candidate come November,” he said.
Moving forward from the New York loss, Khan said he trusts that the Sanders campaign will “make the right decisions over the next couple months.”
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