Bernie Sanders has a chance to extend his winning streak during Saturday’s Wyoming caucuses, but the state’s small delegate count leaves him with little chance to further cut into Hillary Clinton’s lead.
The contest will proportionally award just 14 delegates of the 2,383 needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination, so even a blowout victory would net the winner just a handful. Sanders is looking to extend his winning streak to eight of the last nine contests — including Democrats abroad — and he seems well-positioned to emerge with a victory. He has performed well in the West, winning contests in Washington, Idaho, Colorado and Utah. And he has won 10 of the 14 caucuses Democrats have held during this cycle. Clinton didn’t campaign in the state ahead of the caucuses — President Bill Clinton went instead — while Sanders held a rally there that doubled as a victory celebration after his Tuesday win in Wisconsin.
The Cowboy State’s caucuses come on the heels of rising tension between the two candidates after Sanders questioned his opponent’s qualifications to run for president, a remark that snowballed into a weeklong dispute. Sanders hammered Clinton for her super-PAC support, her Iraq War vote and her support of trade agreements, arguing that those decisions disqualified her. The Sanders camp doubled down in the following day, arguing that Clinton and her allies had been insinuating that Sanders himself was not qualified to run. But Clinton brushed aside those accusations while her campaign hit back.
The argument seemed to calm down when Sanders said Friday that “of course” Clinton is qualified.
Regardless of Saturday’s results, Sanders will remain far behind Clinton in the delegate count. Clinton leads Sanders among pledged delegates 1,280 to 1,030, according to Associated Press estimates. And that lead only grows when Clinton’s overwhelming support from party superdelegates is factored in.