Dem Race Destined for California After Sanders Wins Michigan

Sanders t-shirt Silver Lake (Cory Doctorow / Flickr / CC)
Cory Doctorow / Flickr / CC

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s shocking victory over Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary Tuesday night substantially increases the odds that the Democrat nominating contest will not be decided until the California primary in June.

Sanders defeated Clinton in Michigan 50% to 48.1% with 95% of precincts reporting — an astonishing result, as Clinton previously led in recent polls by as much as 37 points.

On CNN, Donna Brazile said Sanders’ win in Michigan virtually ensures the race heads to California undecided. California’s 546 delegates are up for grabs on June 7.

Clinton notched a commanding 83%-16% victory over Sanders in Mississippi Tuesday night, and still holds a significant delegate lead over Sanders. But with the Michigan win, the race could headed be headed into 2008 territory, when a surging Obama was able to overtake Clinton with a surprise late win in North Carolina in early May before finishing the race for good with a win in Oregon later that month.

Sanders senior media advisor Tad Devine told USA Today last month that if the candidate were able to win enough contests against Clinton, and keep her from opening up an insurmountable lead ahead of late-voting states, he could siphon off some of Clinton’s deeply entrenched super-delegate support.

Sanders would have to pull off another come-from-behind victory if the Democrat race does reach California undecided. A January Field Poll found Clinton with an 11-point advantage among the state’s likely primary voters.