Clinton's dominance stretches to the West: Hillary blocks Bernie's chance for comeback with Arizona win

The Associated Press has declared Clinton and Trump the winners in Arizona

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published March 23, 2016 4:20AM (EDT)

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders   (Reuters/Jim Bourg/Mark Kauzlarich/Photo montage by Salon)
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders (Reuters/Jim Bourg/Mark Kauzlarich/Photo montage by Salon)

"Democracy is not a complicated process," Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said tonight in San Diego, California, shortly after the biggest prize of Tuesday's primaries, Arizona, was called in favor of his rival, Hillary Clinton, by the Associated Press.

With two percent of precincts reporting, Clinton beat Sanders, garnering 60.6 percent of the vote to Sanders' 36.9 percent. Arizona marks Clinton's sixth straight win over Sanders.

On the Republican side, dominant frontrunner Donald Trump easily trounced his two remaining rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, taking 45.9 percent of the vote, so far.

Clinton steadily held a double-digit lead in nearly all polls leading up to Tuesday's vote, but the Sanders campaign seriously contested the state. Sanders' wife, Jane, paid a visit to the notorious "Tent City" jail run by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and the Sanders campaign spent $1.3 million on advertising there, more than double Clinton, according to data from SMG Delta.

While Sanders appeared to be gaining steam nationally, according to a new CNN poll out Tuesday, it looks like a majority of Arizona's 75 available state delegates will go to Clinton.

Still, Sanders cited "record-breaking turnouts" in Arizona and Utah to argue that it is evidence “we are telling the truth." Earlier in the week, senior Sanders' campaign strategist Tad Devine acknowledged that although the campaign has significantly fallen behind Clinton in the delegate count, the fight goes on: “We’re at halftime here, and we agree we’re behind, but we think we’re going to win this game.”

Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver echoed the sentiment, insisting that there is a "“media drumbeat to essentially disenfranchise half of the Democratic voters.”

For her part, Clinton quickly remarked on her Arizona success during an election night speech in Seattle, Washington, before quickly pivoting to the terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday and knocking Republican's efforts to fearmonger on the attack.

"There’s a lot of negativity," Clinton told the crowd. "It’s as if we aren’t Americans. Nobody can beat us! They can’t beat us anywhere!"

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Democratic Primary Arizona Primary Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton