WASHINGTON • Mrs Hillary Clinton has scored a commanding victory in Louisiana, the state with the most delegates in play in the latest round of voting for US presidential election candidates, while rival Senator Bernie Sanders has won the Nebraska and Kansas caucuses.
The results are not likely to alter the broader contours of a race in which Mrs Clinton has maintained a significant delegate lead.
There has been considerably less drama in the Democratic race since Mrs Clinton bounced back from her landslide loss in New Hampshire with victories in Nevada, South Carolina and across the South on Super Tuesday that underscored Mr Sanders' weakness with non-white voters.
But while Mrs Clinton is now heavily favoured to be the Democratic nominee, the party's primary calendar still features a series of contests that seem ripe for Mr Sanders, as Kansas and Nebraska were.
Both held caucuses, which tend to attract liberal voters who prefer Mr Sanders, and both are heavily white. And as moderates in each state have migrated to the Republican Party in recent years, what remains of the Democratic Party has moved left.
Mr Sanders claimed momentum going forward, despite his delegate deficit. "We have got the momentum, the energy and the excitement that will take us all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia," he said in a statement.
Mrs Clinton, though, continued to demonstrate her strength in the South, easily capturing Louisiana, where the primary electorate was expected to be heavily black. Mr Sanders expended little effort there.
There were 126 delegates up for grabs in the Democratic race last Saturday, allocated on a proportional basis. That means Mrs Clinton's single victory, in the most delegate- rich Democratic state voting that day, was likely to diminish the gains from Mr Sanders' two wins.
In the Louisiana Democratic primary, Mrs Clinton was counting on support from black voters, who make up 54 per cent of registered Democrats in the state. She ran up an almost three-to-one margin over Mr Sanders to take the lion's share of the state's 51 delegates.
The next big contest, and a crucial one, will be tomorrow's primary in the industrial state of Michigan, and then winner-take-all races in the states of Florida and Ohio on March 15.
REUTERS, NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE