- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Turnout was down a bit from 2008, but Bernie Sanders won a huge victory in Vermont’s Democratic presidential primary while Donald Trump eked out a narrow win over Ohio Gov. John Kasich on the Republican side in Super Tuesday primary voting.

Sanders had 86 percent of the vote on Wednesday with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial returns. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had 14 percent.

The GOP race was closer, with Trump taking 33 percent of the vote to Kasich’s 30 percent.

Among other Republican candidates, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had about 19 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 10percent and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson had 4 percent.

Secretary of State Jim Condos said Wednesday turnout was down a bit from the 2008 primary, the last time the White House was open. The 187,666 voters who cast primary ballots were down by more than 9,000 from eight years earlier. Some 130,439 voters took the Democratic ballot, down from nearly 197,000 in 2008. About 57,000 took the Republican ballot, up from about 40,000 in 2008.

Sanders rallied a capacity crowd at Portland, Maine’s State Theater on Wednesday, in advance of that state’s Sunday caucuses, telling supporters that pundits once thought of him as a “fringe” candidate and Hillary Clinton as the “inevitable nominee.” He told supporters, “Guess what? She’s not so inevitable today.”

The senator from Vermont demolished Clinton in just about every voting category in his state, according to results of an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television stations. Eight in 10 women supported Sanders, while about 9 in 10 men voted for him; about 3 in 4 voters ages 65 or older supported Vermont’s junior senator; and more than 9 in 10 under age 30 did, as well.

Running for president, Sanders did significantly better among Vermonters than he did running for the U.S. Senate in 2012. In that year’s general election, he got 71 percent of the vote against Republican John MacGovern.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, a Democrat, described turnout across the state as moderate to heavy.

Montpelier salesman Sead Drljacic, 52, a naturalized citizen originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina, said he supported Sanders, too.

“I was in the war. I was in a concentration camp because I was different religion, different nation. Donald Trump is one who reminds me of people who started everything in Bosnia in the ‘90s,” said Drljacic, who noted that he is Muslim.

Trump has proposed temporarily banning all non-citizen Muslims from entering the United States and said it’s risky to take in Syrian refugees because terrorists could be among them.

Cleophace Mukeba, 49, a Congolese refugee who has been living in Burlington for 10 years, said he supported Sanders as well.

“I am voting for Bernie Sanders because the issue that is rising, about the economy, inequality, they are real issues. And for us, it’s really important because we are refugees who have settled here 10 years ago,” said Mukeba, who just finished a master’s degree program at the Vermont Law School and is unemployed.

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