Bernie basks in twin wins at Madison rally

Posted at 10:27 PM, Mar 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-27 11:16:20-04

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Basking in twin wins, Bernie Sanders says the West is putting him on path to an improbable success in the Democratic presidential race. Despite his victories in Alaska and Washington state in the latest voting, Hillary Clinton remains in a far stronger position to capture the nomination.

Even so, Sanders told a spirited rally in Madison, Wisconsin: "We knew things were going to improve as we headed West."

And he implored his cheering Wisconsin supporters to turn out in the state's April 5 Democratic contest and advance him on a "path toward victory."

"We just won the state of Washington — that is what momentum is about," he told more than 8,000 cheering supporters in Madison. "Don't let anybody tell you we can't win the nomination or we can't win the general election. We're going to do both of those things."

Clinton anticipated the losses: She barely campaigned in the three states, making just one day of stops in Washington state, and was spending the Easter weekend with her family.

She is turning her focus to the April 19 contest in New York, seeking to win a large share of the delegates at stake and to avoid the blow of losing to Sanders in a state she represented in the Senate. She is trying to lock up an even larger share of delegates in five Northeastern contests a week later, hoping to deliver a big enough haul to unify the Democratic Party and regulate Sanders to little more than a protest candidate.

Sanders, who's found some success in the industrial Midwest, wants to leverage his fiery arguments against free-trade and working-class support into an April 5 victory in delegate-rich Wisconsin.

Before the contests, Clinton had a delegate lead of 1,228 to 976 over Sanders, according to an Associated Press analysis, an advantage that expanded to 1,692-949 once the superdelegates, or party officials who can back either candidate, are included.