Hillary Clinton finally exceeds expectations with huge win in New York

Ms Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by almost 20 points in the Empire State

Tim Walker
US correspondent
Wednesday 20 April 2016 04:37 BST
Ms Clinton spoke to supporters in New York
Ms Clinton spoke to supporters in New York (AP)

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Louise Thomas

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Hillary Clinton has at last lived up to electoral expectations with a double-digit primary victory over her presidential rival Bernie Sanders in New York. The former Secretary of State won the votes of around 57.5 per cent of Democrats to Mr Sanders’s approximately 42.5 per cent, in a state that both candidates can plausibly call home.

The result puts the brakes on any momentum the Vermont Senator had built up with his recent wins in several Western states, and it diminishes his chances of eating further into the front-runner’s delegate lead in the race for the Democratic nomination.

That is a lead Ms Clinton expects to extend next week with contests in five more states including Maryland and Pennsylvania, where she is ahead in the polls and hopes finally to put the outcome of the contest beyond doubt. Speaking at her campaign’s headquarters in New York City, she said the Democratic race was “in the home stretch, and victory is in sight.”

Hillary Clinton is now looking to the general election
Hillary Clinton is now looking to the general election (AP)

Both candidates can claim deep links to the Empire State. Mr Sanders was born in Brooklyn, while Ms Clinton lives in New York City and served as a US Senator for the state from 2001 to 2009. She officially launched her presidential campaign with a rally on Roosevelt Island in June 2015. Her victory last night “proved”, she said, that “there’s no place like home.”

In her victory speech, Ms Clinton cited the stories of several New Yorkers, including a 9/11 firefighter, a man who was incarcerated for low-level drug offences but went on to create a successful ice cream business, and the daughter of Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, who was killed in the shooting at the Connecticut primary school in 2012.

Addressing her opponents within the Democratic party, Ms Clinton said: “To all the people who supported Senator Sanders, I believe there is much more that unites us than divides us.”

Yet she also could not resist making a comment clearly at Mr Sanders’s expense, adding: “Under the bright lights of New York, we have seen that it’s not enough to diagnose problems; you have to explain how you’d actually solve the problems.”

The size of his loss will be disappointing to Mr Sanders, whose campaign had drawn vast crowds to its New York rallies. In recent days, the Senator criticised the state’s strict voter registration rules, which prevented anyone other than registered Democrats voting in the party’s primary calling them “absurd and wrong”. In other states, Mr Sanders has won much of his support from independents.

Ms Clinton, by contrast, benefited from New York’s large population of minority voters, a group that has proved stalwart in its support for the former secretary of state throughout the country. In her remarks, the front-runner pointed out that hers was the only campaign from either party to have won more than 10 million votes so far this primary season.

A new national poll released this week by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found Mr Sanders trailing Ms Clinton by a mere two points, yet the electoral arithmetic makes it all but impossible for him to catch up with her in the remaining primaries.

Nevertheless, Ms Clinton also seems unlikely to accumulate the number of pledged delegates necessary to secure the nomination alone, and will probably be forced to make up the difference with support from so-called “super-delegates” – the group of Democratic grandees who can tip the balance towards their preferred candidate at the party’s convention in July.

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