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Clinton Defeats Sanders In Illinois' Democratic Presidential Primary

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 16/03/2016 Samantha Lachman
ATHENA IMAGE © The Washington Post via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Illinois’ Democratic presidential primary Tuesday.

Sanders was previously trailing Clinton by double digits in polls of the state's Democratic voters, but the race appeared to tighten in the last two weeks.

Clinton, who was born in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, highlighted Sanders' votes against gun safety measures and his mixed record on immigration reform while campaigning in the state. She also touted her own criminal justice reform and education policies.

Her campaign had worried recently that she would lose Illinois to Sanders on Tuesday, along with Missouri and Ohio. The Clinton campaign was more confident that they’d win North Carolina and Florida, which also held primaries the same day, and emerge with more delegates thanks to victories in those states.

Clinton had 768 unpledged delegates to Sanders’ 554 heading into Tuesday’s contests. That figure doesn't take into account her large lead among super delegates, the elected officials and party leaders who aren’t tied to the candidate who wins their state.

In Illinois, Sanders’ campaign emphasized Clinton’s ties to Chicago’s deeply unpopular Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who endorsed her in 2014 and served with her in President Barack Obama’s administration, in the hopes of peeling off support from African-American and Latino voters who distrust Emanuel’s administration.

Clinton has sought to distance herself from Emanuel following revelations that city officials withheld dashcam footage that showed a police officer shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times as the teenager walked away. While Clinton expressed confidence in Emanuel in early December, she also called for a federal inquiry into the October 2014 shooting and its aftermath. The mayor was resisting such an investigation, but Clinton said Emanuel had to prove his credibility in reforming the city's criminal justice system and be held to the standard of "complete and total reform."

Sanders' campaign ran television ads in Illinois featuring Chuy Garcia , the Cook County commissioner who unsuccessfully challenged Emanuel for the mayoral job last year, and Chicago school principal Troy LaRaviere, who criticized Clinton in his spot.

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