Saturday 10 December 2016

Hillary Clinton scores massive party win in US Virgin Islands

Published 05/06/2016 | 06:26

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is inching closer to her party's nomination (AP)
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is inching closer to her party's nomination (AP)

Hillary Clinton has swept to victory in the US Virgin Islands, picking up all seven pledged delegates at stake as she inched tantalisingly close to the Democratic nomination for the White House.

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She is now just 60 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to advance to the November general election.

The party said Mrs Clinton won 84.2% of the vote, while Bernie Sanders earned 12.2%. Under Democratic National Committee rules, a candidate must win at least 15% of the vote to be eligible to receive delegates.

It was almost as big a margin as Barack Obama had in 2008, when he beat Mrs Clinton by 90 to 8%.

The Virgin Islands is one of five US territories that casts votes in primaries and caucuses to decide the nominee, even though those residents are not eligible to vote in November. While its pool of delegates is small, the island chain took on more importance as Mrs Clinton gets closer to clinching the nomination.

Earlier this month, her husband, former president Bill Clinton, campaigned for his wife in the Virgin Islands while Mr Sanders opted to focus more on neighbouring Puerto Rico, which has 60 delegates at stake in a primary on Sunday.

"People were excited and overjoyed when Bill Clinton came to visit," said Cecil Benjamin, who chairs the party there.

He noted that in addition to the seven pledged delegates, all four of the Virgin Islands' superdelegates - party officials who can back any candidate - were now backing Mrs Clinton.

"We are the only state or US territory where she got 100% of the delegates," he said, citing in part the large voter turnout. "It was great, and we are ready for the national convention."

Mrs Clinton now has 1,776 delegates to Mr Sanders' 1,501, based on primaries and caucuses.

When including superdelegates, her lead is substantial - 2,323 to Mr Sanders' 1,547. It takes 2,383 to win.

In the final stretch of the primary season, six states including New Jersey and California will vote on Tuesday, with 694 delegates up for grabs. The District of Columbia is the last to vote on June 14.

Press Association

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