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Hillary Clinton Wins North Carolina, Continuing Her Southern Streak

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

Hillary Clinton continued her Southern streak Tuesday by winning North Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary.

Clinton defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has struggled to win over enough African-American voters to be competitive in states where they make up a large portion of the electorate.

While Sanders has won states with more white electorates -- such as New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Maine -- Clinton has dominated in the South.

Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, each attended multiple get-out-the-vote events across the state in the week leading up to the primary. Sanders spent less time in North Carolina, but held rallies in Raleigh on Friday and Charlotte on Monday. He also visited Greensboro in September.

Polls of the state’s Democratic voters suggested Clinton would win by up to 20 points. But Sanders pointed to his upset victory in Michigan to suggest that he could do better than expected in the Tar Heel State.

“In Michigan, suddenly people started coming out of the woodwork and there was a huge voter turnout,” he said in Charlotte on Monday. “Tomorrow, here in North Carolina, if there is a large -- a very, very, very large -- turnout, we’re going to win it.”

Sanders had run a television ad highlighting his criticisms of “ disastrous trade deals ” that have hurt the manufacturing industry in North Carolina post-NAFTA. Clinton, in contrast, had run ads  focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as one attacking a Canadian pharmaceutical company with ties to the state, accusing it of “ predatory pricing .”

North Carolina’s primary was the first where voters in the state faced a government-issued photo identification requirement , although there is an exception allowing voters with a “reasonable impediment” to cast provisional ballots if they lack an acceptable form of ID. A federal judge is currently considering a challenge to the Republican-backed ID requirement from civil rights groups, who argue that it disproportionately burdens racial minorities, low-income voters and students.

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