Bernie Sanders is projected to defeat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s Michigan primary in an upset victory in the state where both candidates invested in major campaign efforts. Sanders supporters hoped that his message focused in on trade deals and economic inequality would resonate in the industrial state.
Sanders’ win was called at around 11:30 by the Associated Press and NBC News. For two-and-a-half hours after the final polls closed in Michigan, the networks considered the neck-and-neck race too close to call. Sanders’ strong showing was a major shock in the state where Clinton had been polling more than 20 percentage points ahead of Sanders, according TPM’s PollTracker Average
Sanders held an impromptu press conference in Miami before his victory was declared to celebrate what he called a “fantastic night In Michigan.”
“The political revolution that we are talking about is strong in every part of the country,” he said. “Frankly, we believe that our strongest areas are yet to happen.”
Clinton addressed supporters in Cleveland earlier evening after her win in Mississippi, as the Michigan results were still pouring in and she did not mention the close race in Michigan.
Both campaigns paid attention to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, even running ads inspired by it, though Clinton was the first to visit Flint after the lead water contamination became national controversy. Flint hosted a Democratic debate on Sunday.
In his campaigning in Michigan, Sanders zeroed in Clinton’s support of free trade agreements which he blamed for crushing the manufacturing industry in places in Detroit. He launched the attack in Sunday’s debate, while Clinton hit Sanders for his vote against the large bailout legislation that ultimately bailed out the auto industry.
By winning Michigan, Sanders was able to prove he could expand his support to states beyond the ultra-white states where he has scored victories previously. Clinton, meanwhile, is still leading significantly in the delegate count.