Presumptive nominee Donald Trump was taking 76 percent of the Republican votes, while Hillary Clinton was ahead of rival Bernie Sanders, 54 to 46 percent, on the Democratic side.
Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton rolled to wins in Washington’s relatively low-stakes presidential primary Tuesday night.
In the Republican race, Trump was dominant, taking more than three-quarters of the vote and continuing his now-unobstructed march to the GOP nomination.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beat Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. She had nearly 54 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s returns in a major reversal — though purely symbolic — from March caucuses, in which Sanders dominated.
The Associated Press called both races shortly after 8 p.m.
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While nearly 1.3 million primary votes had been returned to county elections offices as of Tuesday, Washington’s tally won’t have much sway on the 2016 race for the White House.
Democrats are ignoring the result and already allocated delegates based on March caucuses. Despite her win with a much larger primary electorate, Clinton won’t amass any more delegates.
The results do count on the Republican side, with Trump’s victory bringing him closer to the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination.
But Trump has been the presumptive nominee since his last-standing rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, folded their campaigns just as Washington ballots were being mailed. They remained on the ballot, as did Ben Carson, who quit in March but did not sign an affidavit needed to remove his name.
Trump celebrated the victory as building momentum toward his expected fall matchup with Clinton. He made a brief phone call to a group of cheering supporters in Lynnwood before the vote-count Tuesday night, vowing to win the state in the fall, too.
“I’m going to be there a lot. We’re going to campaign hard to win,” Trump said, calling after a rally in New Mexico. While Washington has been known as a Democratic state, he said: “Not with us — it’s going to be Republican.”
State Republican Party Chairman Susan Hutchison said she agreed Trump can flip Washington. “We believe this is a great year for Republicans,” she said. Hutchison said she’d be seeing Trump in person Wednesday at a California fundraising event.
Hutchison called the primary results and turnabout for Clinton embarrassing for Democrats. “I think the Democratic Party is gagging over what has happened today,” she said.
There were 44 Republican delegates up for grabs based on Tuesday’s results. Most of the delegates were elected at the state GOP convention in Pasco last week, where supporters of Cruz dominated.
Regardless of personal preference, all of the state GOP delegates will be bound according to the primary results at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer. Tuesday’s win means Trump will take the bulk of the delegates, and maybe all of them, once the count is finalized.
Democrats won’t use the primary results, and their state party officials have criticized the $11.5 million cost of the election.
In a statement, state Democratic Party Chairman Jaxon Ravens pointed at the GOP’s Trump “coronation” as “a full embrace of Trump’s agenda and Trump’s deeply offensive behavior.”
Ravens added a Trump presidency would “deeply harm America’s middle-class families and his disgusting comments about Muslims, Hispanics and women have already divided the country.” He predicted Washington voters will reject Trump this fall.
The state Democratic Party stuck with its tradition of caucuses to award the state’s 101 bound delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this year.
Sanders dominated the precinct caucuses in March, and those results were finalized in recent congressional district caucuses, giving Sanders 74 delegates to Clinton’s 27.
That doesn’t include the state’s 17 Democratic superdelegates, who are not bound by the primary vote. Most of the superdelegates, including Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, have endorsed Clinton, angering many Sanders backers, who say the superdelegates should back the caucus winner.
Todd Donovan, a professor of political science at Western Washington University, said the results could lead to more talk of whether caucuses are the best way to pick presidential favorites in the state. “They really kind of distort reality,” he said, adding that primaries “are probably a better snapshot.”
As of Tuesday, more than 660,000 Democratic votes had been counted in the primary.
About 486,000 votes had been counted in the Republican primary.
Primary votes will continue to be counted as they arrive at county elections offices in coming days.
Under Washington’s all-mail system, ballots had to be postmarked as of Tuesday to be counted.