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Hillary Clinton Appears to Win Kentucky Primary At the Wire

Tuesday primary matchups unlikely to dent Clinton's delegate lead

Hillary Clinton speaks with steel workers and civic leaders at a campaign stop in Ashland, Kentucky in early May. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Hillary Clinton speaks with steel workers and civic leaders at a campaign stop in Ashland, Kentucky in early May. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was called the apparent winner in a photo finish in Tuesday’s Kentucky primary after late results from Louisville.  

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said on CNN that based on outstanding votes in Jefferson County, Clinton would emerge as the unofficial winner.  

The stakes were high for both Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders when primary voters cast ballots in Oregon and Kentucky on Tuesday night, even though neither contest promises to make a dent in Clinton’s sizeable delegate lead.  

Local analysts said the early vote counts showed a distinct divide between urban centers like Louisville and Lexington and rural areas.  

Clinton, the former secretary of state, was well ahead in those more populous countries. But the race went without an immediate call as there were questions about whether she could sufficiently run up the margins to counter the support elsewhere for Sanders, the Vermont independent.  

Clinton had been expected to win Kentucky by a small margin, especially if her campaign can turn out the vote in the cities. She has campaigned in the state twice this month.  

Sanders is likely to pull out a bigger win in Oregon, where voters cast ballots by mail. But in these primaries, the last big matchups of the month , it’s not the winner that counts as much as the margin of victory.  

For Clinton, the strong showing in Kentucky could help her secure some of the 143 delegates she needs to clinch the nomination , as well as beat back the unexpectedly persistent primary challenger before she can turn her attention to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump . The longer the primary battle drags on , the harder the general election campaign could be for her.  

The Ulimate Hillary Clinton Running Mate

For Sanders, Tuesday’s vote counts will be a big indication of whether he stands a chance of winning at least two-thirds of the delegates in the remaining primaries. That’s the daunting task he faces in order to erase Clinton’s current lead of 2,240 delegates to his 1,472, according to the Associated Press delegate tracker.  

Is Hillary Clinton Launching Her General Election Campaign in Appalachia? Clinton’s total includes more than 500 superdelegates, who are party leaders and elected officials allowed to vote for whomever they choose. Sanders, who now has the support of 40 superdelegates, is hoping his late-stage victories can sway more of those officials to his campaign.  

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