Bernie Sanders beats Hillary Clinton in Indiana Democratic primary

US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wins the nominating contest in Indiana, saying the win gives him momentum towards what could possibly become one of the great 'political upsets in the history of the United States'.
US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressing the crowd during a campaign rally at the Big Four Lawn park on May 3, 2016, in Louisville, Kentucky.
US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressing the crowd during a campaign rally at the Big Four Lawn park on May 3, 2016, in Louisville, Kentucky. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - After a string of defeats, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders bounced back to win the state of Indiana in the primary election on Tuesday (May 3), generating some momentum as the primary season enters its final phase although still far lagging Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. 

With 81 per cent of the votes counted, Mr Sanders had 52.7 per cent of the votes, compared with Mrs Hillary Clinton's 47.3 per cent.

While the win generates some momentum for the Sanders campaign, Mrs Clinton still has a sizable delegate lead -- 2219 to Mr Sanders' 1448 delegates, according to the New York Times, and Associated Press. 

A Democratic candidate needs 2,383 delegates in order to become the party's nominee, which will be decided during the national convention in July. 

 
 

Unfazed by the loss, Mrs Clinton continued to focus her attention on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, calling on supporters to help her beat him in the general election. 

She tweeted:  "Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee. Chip in now if you agree we can't let him become president."

The Sanders campaign had put much effort into the state of Indiana, campaigning in the state for three days and spending more than US$1 million (S$1.35 million) on television advertisements. In contrast, Mrs Clinton had spent only one day in Indiana and did not spend any money on advertisements. 

Mr Sanders has said numerous times that he will continue in the primary race till the very end. While he does not seem to have a path to the nomination, his campaign believes that more wins in the up-coming states might sway super delegates -- often party officials -- to vote for him instead of Mrs Clinton. 

The Indiana win provides "another sliver of hope for Sanders supporters in California, where would keep them from resigning themselves to the inevitable Clinton victory," said Assistant Professor of political science Aaron Dusso from Indiana University -- Purdue University Indianapolis. 

While some have said his staying in the race prevents the party from uniting and focusing its attention on beating the Republicans, others believe it might benefit the Democrats. 

"It appears to me that he is more interested in continuing so that he and his supporters can influence the policy debate with the Democratic party. I don't think this hurts them at all," said Dr Dusso. 

"If he can keep large numbers of individuals energised for the election, he will likely help the Democrats in November," he added.