Senator Bernie Sanders routed Hillary Clinton in all three Democratic presidential contests on Saturday, infusing his underdog campaign with critical momentum and bolstering his argument that the race for the nomination is not a foregone conclusion.
Mr. Sanders found a welcome tableau in the largely white and liberal electorates of the Pacific Northwest, where just days after resoundingly beating Mrs. Clinton in Idaho he repeated the feat in the Washington caucuses, winning 73 percent of the vote. He did even better in Alaska, winning 82 percent of the vote, and in Hawaii, he had 71 percent with a few precincts still be counted, according to The Associated Press.
Washington, the largest prize Saturday with 101 delegates in play, was a vital state for Mr. Sanders, whose prospects of capturing the nomination dimmed after double-digit losses to Mrs. Clinton across the South and weak showings in delegate-rich Ohio, Florida and North Carolina this month. As of Saturday evening, Mrs. Clinton had roughly 280 more pledged delegates, who are awarded based on voting, and 440 more superdelegates — party leaders and elected officials — than Mr. Sanders.
At a rally in Madison, Wis., late Saturday afternoon, Mr. Sanders assured supporters that his victories had cleared a viable path to the nomination. “We knew from day one that politically we were going to have a hard time in the Deep South,” Mr. Sanders said. “But we knew things were going to improve when we headed west.”
Noting the “huge” voter turnout — in Washington, party officials estimated more than 200,000 people participated on Saturday, close to the record set in 2008 — he told the crowd, “We are making significant inroads into Secretary Clinton’s lead.”
The victories on Saturday only slightly narrowed the gulf with Mrs. Clinton in the quest for the 2,382 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.
But the wins are likely to bestow on the Sanders campaign a surge of online donations with which to buy advertising in the expensive media markets of New York and Pennsylvania, which hold primaries next month. The victory will also embolden Mr. Sanders to stay in the race and continue challenging Mrs. Clinton on her ties to Wall Street and her foreign policy record.