It’s a quarter to 10pm as I write these words: based on 88 percent of precincts reporting in, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, D–Vermont, has won today’s Hawaii Democratic Party Presidential Preference Poll, taking slightly more than 70 percent of the vote. The caucus-like poll began at 1pm this afternoon and concluded around 5pm (though some precincts closed earlier while others remained open after). Given’s Hawaii’s long history of slow election results reporting, the fact that the tabulation of results has gone on this long should surprise no one.
Exact turnout numbers are unavailable at present (or a good breakdown of how Maui County precincts went), but all afternoon media reports indicated larger than expected numbers of people showing up at the poll.
To be honest, Sanders’ victory was something of a surprise, at least to me. A few weeks ago, UH Political Science Professor Colin Moore had told me that even though there was no reliable, independent polling done in the state, it was likely that Hillary Clinton would win. After all, nearly every prominent Democrat in the state had endorsed Clinton (with a couple exceptions like U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and South Maui Rep. Kaniela Ing).
But earlier today, Sanders won both the Alaska and Washington state caucuses (Sanders took 13 delegates to Clinton’s three in the former and 23 to Clinton’s eight in the latter). Of course, when all is said and done, Clinton still leads Sanders in the pledged delegate count by about 250.
Today’s victories–none of which were close–certainly gives Sanders positive momentum, but in the grand scheme of thing, he’s still facing tough arithmetic. In 2008, for instance, Barack Obama beat Clinton by just 69 pledged delegates for the Democratic Party nomination.