Bernie Sanders Wins Wisconsin, Aims at Clinton’s Home State of New York

/Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) arrives at a campaign rally April 4, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is celebrating a big victory in Wisconsin over Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, winning in a state with a strong tradition of young voters.

Clinton, likely aware that Wisconsin would go to Sanders, was in Brooklyn, New York, Tuesday evening.

Sanders maintained his campaign’s focus on “momentum” and set his sights on New York, telling his Janesville audience that he believes they have “an excellent chance to win New York and a lot of delegates in that state.” Clinton served as the United States Senator in New York and hopes to build her momentum there heading into the April 19 primary there.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting as of midnight, Sanders clocked in with an 13-point win over Clinton.

However, that may not be enough in the bigger picture.

FiveThirtyEight‘s Nate Silver came up with a “Bernie-miracle path” to Sanders winning the 988 delegates needed to become the Democratic Party’s nominee. That path called for Sanders to win Wisconsin by 16 points to make a significant impact on Clinton’s delegate-lead.

During the 2008 Wisconsin primary, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama beat Clinton there by a sizable 17-point margin.

Silver also noted that Sanders would need to beat Clinton in her home state of New York by at least 4 points, although most polls have found Sanders trailing in the demographically-diverse state.

Despite it all, Sanders told his audience not to tell Clinton that he is confident about a New York win “because she’s already nervous,” noting that he does not want to “get her even more nervous.”

Sanders cited the groundswell of popular support he has been able to garner from mostly millennials. He said the campaign has “received over 6 million individual campaign contributions,” averaging $27 per individual.

Paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, he said “this is a campaign of the people, by the people and for the people.”

RealClearPolitics notes that both Clinton and Sanders had campaigned vigorously in the Badger State, but that Sanders had invested far more heavily than Clinton there, airing around 1,000 television ads compared with Clinton’s 295 in the week ending on March 28.

“Momentum is starting this campaign 11 months ago and the media determining that we were a fringe candidacy,” Sanders said to the roaring crowd of his supporters.

He continued, “momentum is starting a campaign 60, 70 points behind Secretary Hillary Clinton.”

“Momentum is that when you look at national [and] state-wide polls, we are defeating Donald Trump by very significant numbers. And in almost every instance in national polls and state polls, our margin over Trump is wider than is Secretary Clinton’s.”

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in March, Sanders claimed that he would be a better general-election candidate than Clinton. “If Democrats want to defeat a Republican candidate, Trump or anybody else, I think the evidence is overwhelming: I am that candidate,” he said at the time. 

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.