BILLINGS, Mont. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday spoke to a pair of big rallies here in Big Sky Country ahead of Montana’s presidential primary election. He was greeted with cheers when he said he is the most electable candidate for president.
Some 9,100 Sanders supporters came out on a sunny spring day to Caras Park in Missoula for a rally on the banks of the Clark Fork River. Hours later, another 3,000 packed the Montana Pavilion in Billings.
Twenty-seven delegates to this summer’s Democratic National Convention are at stake in the June 7 primary. With eight states still set to hold primaries or a caucus in the closing weeks of the nominating process, Sanders renewed his pledge to stay in the race with Hillary Clinton until the convention in Philadelphia in July.
“If we can do really well – it is a steep climb and I admit it – but we can end up with more pledged delegates, real delegates, delegates elected by the people than Secretary Clinton,” Sanders told the Billings rally.
The senator from Vermont so far has won victories in 19 states and amassed 46 percent of the pledged delegates. He picked up more with back-to-back wins the past two Tuesdays. He carried every county in West Virginia on Election Day this week. He scored another upset win over Clinton one week ago in Indiana.
Sanders called it “strange and undemocratic” that 450 superdelegates – elected officials and party officials – backed Clinton even before Sanders entered the presidential campaign last April 30. “That’s not democracy. That’s the establishment defending its own interests,” Sanders said.
In West Virginia, for example, Sanders soundly defeated Clinton 51 percent to 36 percent in Tuesday’s primary election. As a result of the popular vote, he won 18 elected pledged delegates to her 11. But six of the state’s seven superdelegates back Clinton. In other states – including Minnesota, Washington and Colorado – Sanders won by double-digit margins but the party establishment figures are clinging to Clinton.
Sanders also made the case for why he would be the Democrats’ best choice to win in November. In yet another new poll published on Wednesday, Sanders trounced Trump 48 percent to 39 percent in a general election matchup. That 11-point lead contrasts with Clinton’s 2-point margin over Trump in the same Economist/YouGov Poll. She was supported by 42 percent to his 40 percent.
“You are looking at the strongest Democratic candidate,” Sanders said.