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Sanders Touts Oregon Victory, Looks Toward California
by Oregon State Media Inc
  Thursday May 19, 2016 - 11:45 AM
 
Sen. Bernie Sanders appears to have won Oregon by more than 8 points, but Hillary Clinton is up to 96 percent of the delegates she needs for the Democratic nomination. NPR's Domenico Montanaro tells host Peter O'Dowd that although it's virtually impossible for Sanders to win at this point, his rhetoric hasn't toned down yet.

In his swing across northern California, Sen. Bernie Sanders came up with a bold way of keeping his May "winning streak" despite a narrow loss in Kentucky. He described it as a victory.

"Let me begin by thanking the people of Kentucky and Oregon for giving us great victories last night," Sanders said in Vallejo. "In a closed primary in Kentucky, where independents cannot vote, we got half of the delegates in the state."

Earlier in the day, Sanders's campaign sent supporters a fundraising letter that also seemed to put Kentucky on the win board. "We won the Oregon primary and came to yet another virtual tie, this time in Kentucky," wrote the campaign, in text credited to Sanders. "That's 21 victories for us so far, plus three more virtual ties where the margin was less than one percent of the vote."

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As Sanders focuses on trying to win California, in the hopes of convincing superdelegates that Hillary Clinton has lost momentum and would lose a general election to Donald Trump, he is testing the nerves of Democrats who think he's misrepresenting his overall chances. Heading into Tuesday night, Sanders needed to win 66 percent of all available delegates to pass Clinton in the pledged count. His 56 percent of the vote in Oregon and 46.3 percent in Kentucky put him short of that, requiring him to win 67 percent of the outstanding delegates to pull ahead.

To the frustration of Sanders supporters, the slow count of Oregon ballots made his victory there look much narrower when networks called it, and Kentucky's Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes — a Clinton endorser — gave media outlets the go-ahead to call the state for Clinton.

On Tuesday night, Sanders's campaign informed reporters that the senator was going to take another look at Kentucky's results before deciding whether to ask for a recount. Wednesday came and went with no answer from the campaign, but with Sanders beginning to spin Kentucky as a sort of win, considering the closed nature of the primary. At his mid-day speech in San Jose, Sanders seemingly contradicted the "21 victories" count used in the fundraising email.

"As of last night, thanks to the people of Oregon, we won our 20th state primary or caucus," said Sanders. "Thanks to the people of Kentucky, we won half of the delegates there."