The delegates he would capture in a sweep would dent but not seriously damage front-runner Hillary Clinton’s lead in the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Winning all three states would, however, buoy his insurgent challenge, as the contest moves back to large, delegate-rich states in the Midwest and Northeast.
Clinton’s campaign conceded that Sanders had the edge in all three contests Saturday, but it claimed that even the largest prize, Washington, will make little difference in the dynamics of a primary contest that she has long been favored to win. Clinton campaigned in Washington for one day last week, while Sanders spent several days there. Neither candidate campaigned in person in either Hawaii or Alaska.
The Washington caucus began at 1 p.m. Eastern time, with results expected later in the afternoon. The other two contests were taking place later in the day.
Sanders supporters filled more than 15,100 seats at the Seattle Mariners’ baseball park on Friday night, according to his campaign.
“Don’t let anybody tell you that Hillary Clinton is the strongest Democratic candidate to take on the Republicans,” Sanders said. “It is not true.”
That was a reference to polls, including a CNN/ORC survey last week that gave Sanders a 20-point lead over Republican front-runner Donald J. Trump in a head-to-head contest. Clinton held a 12-point lead over Trump in the same survey.
“The great state of Washington has the opportunity to help lead this country into a political revolution,” Sanders said Friday.
The rally Friday was the independent senator’s sixth such large rally in the state, which offers 101 delegates. Hawaii offers 25 delegates and Alaska 16.