- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has accepted Kentucky’s primary election results, moving front-runner Hillary Clinton one delegate closer to securing the nomination.

State officials reviewed election totals from electronic voting machines and absentee ballots on Tuesday at the request of Sanders’ campaign after he finished 1,911 votes behind Clinton in the state’s May 17 primary, or less than one half of 1 percent of the vote. But Thursday’s recanvassing did not change the results.

Afterward, Sanders announced he would not ask a judge for a recount. That means Hillary Clinton will pick up one more delegate from the Bluegrass state, leaving her 74 delegates shy of securing the nomination.

But Sanders has vowed to stay in the race.

“We are very pleased that we split the delegates in a state with a closed primary in which independents cannot vote and where Secretary Clinton defeated Barack Obama by 35 points in 2008,” Sanders said in a news release.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump picked up a handful of previously uncommitted delegates on Thursday in North Dakota to secure the Republican nomination. But Clinton and Sanders appear likely to drag their contest into the summer, with the next elections scheduled for the Virgin Islands on June 4 and Puerto Rico on June 5.

The final tally from Kentucky gives Clinton 28 delegates and Sanders 27. Clinton leads Sanders by 272 pledged delegates and enjoys a near 500 delegate advantage among superdelegates.

Sanders won nearly every coal-producing county in Kentucky, underscoring Clinton’s weakness in Appalachia after her comments that her policies would put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business. Clinton has said she was mistaken in her remarks and has since touted her plan to invest billions of dollars in economically depressed coal regions.

Clinton enjoyed the support of most of Kentucky’s Democratic leaders, including former Gov. Steve Beshear and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election officer, oversaw Thursday’s recanvass. Some Sanders supporters have criticized her for endorsing Clinton in the primary.

“I think most people realize when you are elected secretary of state, you take that partisanship hat off, you come here to work of the people of Kentucky,” she said.


Associated Press reporter Cathrine Lucey contributed reporting form Des Moines, Iowa.

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