[UPDATE, 8:46 AM]: Senator Bernie Sanders has won the Hawaii caucus with 70% of the vote. Sanders has swept all three of Saturday’s contests.
Senator Bernie Sanders won the Alaska and Washington caucuses on Saturday. If he were to win the Hawaii caucus (see update), he will have had swept all three of Saturday’s contests for the Democrats.
Hawaii results were not available as of press time (see update).
Sanders’s resounding wins in Alaska and Washington (he had over 70% of the vote in both states) will buy Sanders more time against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who has a lead in both pledged and overall delegates.
Sanders has long argued that his results would improve once the race shifted away from the South, especially towards the West. Washington was the biggest prize on Saturday with over 100 delegates, more than Alaska and Hawaii combined, and both candidates focused on the state. Neither visited Alaska nor Hawaii.
Clinton campaigned heavily in Washington. She lost to then-Senator Barack Obama by a two-to-one margin in 2008. This time, her campaign focused on surrogate affidavits, the Washington caucus’s equivalent of absentee ballots. The campaign mailed the affidavits to supporters with the return postage already paid.
Sanders has done well with caucuses in the past as his dedicated supporters are willing to wait in line for hours and can make the case for their candidate.
Speaking to supporters at his victory party in Madison, Wisconsin, Sanders said, “We knew things were going to improve as we headed West.” Then he continued, “We have a path toward victory.”
Clinton did not speak on Saturday. She took a day off from the campaign trail.
The delegates in all states for the Democrats are awarded proportionally, so Clinton will leave with some delegates gained. However, Sanders’s lopsided victory will cause him to gain many more than Clinton.
Sanders’s potential sweep could cause difficulty for Clinton as she tries to subtly nudge Sanders out of the race. Clinton has argued for the party to unify around her and has turned her attention to Republicans, mainly Donald Trump, on the race. Sanders’s sweep complicates that as it shows he can still have big wins.
Following Saturday, the campaign largely moves onto the Northeast, including Clinton’s home state of New York.