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Hillary Clinton Wins The Ohio Primary

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 16/03/2016 Janie Velencia
ATHENA IMAGE © Al Drago via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

Hillary Clinton won the Ohio primary on Tuesday, securing another delegate-heavy state in her bid for the Democratic nomination.

Polls heading into Tuesday showed Clinton winning the Buckeye state by margins ranging from 5 to 14 percentage points. She performed particularly strongly among non-white voters, who make up a quarter of Ohio's Democratic electorate.

The former secretary of state's win is a major blow to her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who was hoping to take the state and build on his momentum after his unexpected win in Michigan last week. Losing Ohio, which has 143 delegates, will make it difficult for him to catch up to Clinton as the race moves forward.

Clinton got a major boost with the fall endorsement of Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat with impeccable progressive and union credentials, who has made opposition to free trade central to his politics. Being able to tout his support helped to blunt Sanders' critique of Clinton. (Brown is now being floated as a potential running mate for Clinton.)

Sanders was counting on high turnout, especially among young voters, to win Ohio. He received a bit of good news last Friday when an Ohio judge ruled that 17-year-olds who turn 18 by Election Day in November could vote in the primary.

Voters in Toledo on Tuesday explained that their decision to vote for Clinton over Sanders was grounded on pragmatism.

"I like Bernie, and what he says, but I just don’t think he can get everything he wants done," said Jim Stettler, a 70-year-old retired postal worker. "Look at how tough it was for Obama to get things through Congress."

William Hawkins, a 60-year-old recent retiree from Toledo, said he liked Sanders, too, but worried about his electability: "I think Bernie has got some interesting ideas, but he’s got viability issues. I think a lot of people have issues with a socialist label."

Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray warned Monday of the possibility of cross-over voting that could affect the outcome of the race. A significant portion of Sanders supporters stated they had given serious thought to voting in the Republican primary for Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio).

This is Clinton's second primary win in Ohio. She triumphed in the state in 2008 when she competed against then-Sen. Barack Obama.

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