- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sen. Bernard Sanders scored a major upset victory in Michigan on Tuesday night, defeating presidential primary rival Hillary Clinton and notching a symbolic win that may breathe new life into his underdog campaign.

Despite weeks of polling that showed Mr. Sanders down by double digits, networks called the race for the Vermont senator late Tuesday night.

With 94 of precincts reporting, Mr. Sanders had 50 of the vote compared to 48 for Mrs. Clinton.

The win clearly surprised the Sanders campaign. The senator himself wasn’t even in the state and instead had addressed supporters in Florida earlier in the evening.

When it became clear he was likely to win in Michigan, Mr. Sanders made a brief impromptu speech in Miami.

“What tonight means is the Bernie Sanders campaign, the people’s revolution we are talking about, the political revolution we are talking about, is strong in every part of the country and frankly we believe our strongest areas are yet to come,” he said. “We are going to very well on the West Coast and other parts of the country. What the American people are saying is they are tired of a corrupt campaign finance system and Super PACs funded by Wall Street and the billionaire class.”

SEE ALSO: Clinton’s Southern dominance continues in Mississippi

In an email blast Tuesday night, Progressive Democrats of America, which had been boosting a Sanders challenge since 2013, exulted with extra capital letters that “Our Bernie Sanders Movement Erased a YUGE 20 Point Lead to Win in Michigan! NINE States for Bernie…and Counting!”

Besides soliciting support in the form of cash and volunteers, the group warned that “with Donald Trump’s hateful campaign approaching victory in the Republican primaries, we need Bernie as our champion. National polls show Bernie can beat Trump easily.”

For Mrs. Clinton — who still will win more delegates Tuesday than will Mr. Sanders, thanks to her landslide win in Mississippi — the result in Michigan raises new questions about the strength of her campaign heading into next week’s slate of contests.

The key Midwestern states of Ohio and Illinois go to the polls March 15, and the Clinton campaign is counting on wins in those states and others to continue putting distance between the former secretary of state and Mr. Sanders in the all-important delegate count.

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