Bernie Sanders kept the political revolution alive by beating Hillary Clinton in the Ocean State Tuesday night. With all of Rhode Island reporting, Sanders beat Clinton 54.7 percent to 43.1 percent.
His win also sent a strong message to the establishment Democrats in Rhode Island – from the state officers to the congressional delegation – that strongly backed Clinton.
“I think the big thing in Rhode Island is we weren’t just getting Bernie elected here, we were also fighting the establishment,” said Lauren Niedel, the state chairwoman of the Sanders campaign. “Raimondo, Elorza, Gorbea, they don’t represent the Democratic Party here, they don’t represent us. They have D’s next to their name, but they’re not Bernie is the one who represents us, the people.”
“I hear all the time, ‘Aaron that is too liberal, we’ll get voted out if we do that,'” said Providence Rep. Aaron Regunberg. “That argument no longer holds any water. Look up your local elected officials and get this message across we want you to support Bernie’s platform. Rhode Island supports it and we need you to support it too.”
“We took on the whole leadership of the Democratic Party in Rhode Island,” said Sam Bell, of the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats.
Clinton won Barrington and East Greenwich, Rhode Island’s richest towns, as well as Central Falls and Pawtucket, two of the poorest cities in the state. Sanders, on the other hand, dominated Clinton in the more rural parts of the state winning handily towns like Burrillville, Charlestown, Tiverton, Coventry and Hopkinton. Sanders won Providence 51.3 percent to 47.4 percent.
Clinton seems to have won primaries in 4 other states tonight in Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Before tonight Clinton led Sanders in pledged delegates 1,446 to 1,202. There are 12 states, the District of Columbia and several other territories still to vote before the convention in Philadelphia this summer.
In the 2008 Democratic primary, Clinton won 108,949 (58.4%) to Barack Obama’s 75,316 (40.3%). The total votes in the Democratic primary that year was 186,439.
Donald Trump won the Republican primary with 64 percent of the vote. John Kasich came in second place with 24 percent of the vote.
Rhode Islanders by and large preferred a Democrat to a Republican with 119,213 people voting for Sanders or Clinton and 53,988 people voting for Trump or Kasich. Sanders beat Clinton by 14,227 votes and Clinton bested Trump by 13,434 votes.