A Tough Night for Sanders as Clinton Expands Her Lead | Off Message

Bernie Sanders
A Tough Night for Sanders as Clinton Expands Her Lead


Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks Monday in Youngstown, Ohio. - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks Monday in Youngstown, Ohio.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had hoped his unexpected win in Michigan last week would propel him to victory throughout the industrial midwest. But the voters had a different idea.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton defeated Sanders in at least four states Tuesday — Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio — with a fifth, Missouri, too close to call. 

The number that really mattered, though, was 320: her lead among pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention. With 1,094 in the bag — not to mention 467 committed superdelegates — Clinton is well on her way to securing the 2,383 necessary to win her party's presidential nomination. 

Sanders' chances of catching up, meanwhile, have become vanishingly slim. 

As the results came rolling in, Sanders kept his eye on next week's contests — in Arizona, Idaho and Utah. Speaking for more than an hour Tuesday night in Phoenix, he never once addressed the day's elections. 

Clinton, who held a victory party in West Palm Beach, Fla., told supporters she was "moving close to securing the Democratic Party nomination" and then turned her attention to the general election, in which she appeared more likely than not to face New York businessman Donald Trump.

His victory in Florida pushed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) out of the race Tuesday night. Trump also won in Illinois and North Carolina, but he fell to Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the latter's home state. In Missouri, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was giving Trump a run for his money, but that race was too close to call.

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