Colorado Dems Feel the Bern

Bernie Sanders' definitive (yet unsurprising) win in the Colorado caucus on Tuesday night will help keep his campaign alive—for now. 

March 2 2016, 11:43 AM

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaks at a rally in Concord, New Hampshire, on November 5, 2015. —Courtesy of Shutterstock

It may have been a Super Tuesday for Hillary Clinton nationally, but here in Colorado, Democrats were feeling the Bern.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders scored a conclusive victory over the former Secretary of State in the Colorado caucus on Tuesday night, earning nearly 59 percent of votes in the state’s only presidential preference poll. (Read about why there was no Republican straw poll in Colorado.) Clinton brought in 40 percent, with 98 percent of the precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.

While Sanders’ caucus win was definitive, the results are nonbinding—meaning that Sanders isn’t guaranteed to take all of the state’s 66 delegates. According to the Denver Post, most delegates will be settled with district-based math. The rest will be determined at the state’s convention on April 16, but the delegates could still switch before the national convention in July. (For what it’s worth, The Denver Post estimates that Sanders will receive 35 delegates from Colorado based on Tuesday night's results, to Clinton’s 24.) Additionally, Colorado has 12 superdelegates, many of whom have pledged to support Clinton. 

Sanders needed a win in Colorado—a state where his campaign knew he could be competitive—to keep his presidential run moving throughout the crucial month of March. Leading up to Super Tuesday, Sanders’ campaign focused advertising efforts in the Centennial State, outspending Clinton two-to-one. Colorado Public Radio reports that Sanders spent more than $1.6 million on television ads here to Clinton’s $748,197, as of last week, focused mostly in the Denver metro area.

Colorado Dems showed up in droves on Tuesday night, crowding more than 400 caucus locations across the state. In Denver, many caucus-goers waited outside for hours as volunteers struggled to account for all attendees. In Boulder, hundreds of people were turned away from a caucus event at Centennial Middle School due to overcrowding. Out of 64 Colorado counties, Clinton came out on top in only 12. 

In addition to Sanders’ strong showing in the Centennial State, especially among young, white liberals, he won primary contests in Vermont (his home state) and Oklahoma, and the caucus in Minnesota on Tuesday. Clinton won in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Despite Sanders' vast, yet unsurprising, win in Colorado, Clinton has built a convincing lead in the quest for the Democratic nomination. With Super Tuesday's results, she has now racked up 1,034 delegates (including superdelegates) to Sanders’ 408. Looking ahead to the March 15 races in Ohio and Florida (both of which favor Clinton), along with Illinois, North Carolina, and Missouri, it may be unlikely that Sanders can catch Clinton and secure the nomination. One thing's for sure: Here in Colorado and across the country, Sanders' message of revolution has caught on—and it's something that Clinton won't be able to ignore come November. 

—Photo courtesy of Shutterstock