(CN) – Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton Tuesday night in West Virginia, giving more fuel to his argument that he should remain in the race despite long odds of his actually securing the party’s presidential nomination.
Sanders’ victory comes a week after he prevailed in Indiana’s Democratic primary, and two weeks after his campaign was dealt what appeared to be a fatal blow in several contests in the Northeast, including his native New York.
As in other states, Clinton had the support of the West Virginia’s Democratic establishment, but couldn’t overcome statements she made in March, when she suggested that if elected. she would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
West Virginia awards its 29 pledged delegates on a proportional basis, so it will likely be Wednesday morning at the earliest before the allocation of the state’s delegates in known.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, the last of the GOP candidates still standing, also won in West Virginia, with 74 percent of the vote, and he cruised to an easy victory later Tuesday night in Nebraska.
(Nebraska’s Democrats caucused in March, handing Sanders a huge win over Clinton.)
Donald Trump picked up 36 delegates with his win in the Nebraska Republican primary, meaning he now has 89 percent of the delegates he needs to secure the GOP nomination on the first ballot of the party’s nominating convention in Cleveland this summer.
In West Virginia, the bestowing of delegates is a bit more complicated. Trump has won at least three of the state’s 34 delegates outright, but the other 31 are elected directly by voters.
Their names appear on the ballot, alongside the presidential candidate they support, so Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, both of whom recently dropped out of the presidential race, may still pick up some delegates.
Heading into Tuesday’s contests, more than 101,000 West Virginians cast their vote in early balloting – more than in any other year since early voting was allowed in 2002.
An additional 5,000 West Virginians turned in absentee ballots.
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign rally, Tuesday, May 10, 2016, in Stockton, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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