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Both Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders were looking to coal country to deliver an improbable win in their respective primaries, but only one came away with an upset win.
Sanders, the self-avowed democratic socialist, bested rival Hillary Clinton with 51.4 percent of the vote, compared to 36 percent for Clinton.
Just in: NBC News calls West Virginia for Bernie Sanders right at poll close.
— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) May 10, 2016
“Every vote we earn and every delegate we secure sends an unmistakable message about the values we share, the country’s support for the ideas of our campaign, and a rejection of Donald Trump and his values,” the Sanders campaign said in a statement after the race was called.
On the Republican side, with Trump the only active candidate on the ballot, there was no contest as he garnered 76.9 percent of the vote. Cruz, who suspended his campaign last week, received 9 percent.
While Sanders will take a majority of West Virginia’s 29 pledged delegates, he will not cut into Clinton’s delegate lead by much, though he continues to hinder her path to clinching the nomination — with 897 delegates left to be awarded, Sanders needs 914.
The Vermont senator acknowledged the uphill climb while giving his victory speech at a campaign rally in Salem, Oregon.
“We fully acknowledge — we are good at arithmetic — that we have an uphill climb ahead of us,” he said. “But we are used to fighting uphill climbs.”
Clinton hurt her chances in West Virginia at a Ohio town hall in March, when she said “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business” while talking about clean renewable energy. The candidate offered a mealymouthed apology of sorts last week when an out of work coal miner confronted her over the comment, but it was too little, too late.
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