By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

Michael Vadon / CC BY 2.0

Bolstering his argument that voters in every state deserve a chance to have their preference registered, Bernie Sanders proved too much for rival Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in West Virginia, a state she carried handily in 2008 when running against Barack Obama.

With nearly half of precincts reporting, NBC News reports that Sanders had captured 51 percent of the vote compared to Clinton’s 39 percent.

Following the announcement of his projected win, Sanders released the following statement:

“I want to thank the people of West Virginia for the tremendous victory they gave us today in a state that provided a landslide vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008. West Virginia is a working-class state and many of the people there are hurting. They know, like most Americans, that it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. They want real change.

“With this outcome, we now have won primaries and caucuses in 19 states. We are in this campaign to win the Democratic nomination and we’re going to stay in the race until the last vote is cast. We expect more victories in the weeks to come when voters go to the polls in Kentucky, Oregon, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and the District of Columbia.

“We fully acknowledge we have an uphill climb ahead of us, but we’re used to that. We have been fighting uphill from the day this campaign began. And after all the votes are cast and counted and this contest moves to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the delegates will decide which candidate is the strongest nominee to take on Donald Trump in November. All of the evidence indicates that I am that candidate.

“As voters in the remaining states and territories make up their minds about the future of the Democratic Party, I believe they deserve a chance to compare my record and Secretary Clinton’s record on creating jobs, raising the minimum wage, war and peace, the need for health care for all, breaking up big banks, combating climate change and other critical issues. Secretary Clinton’s campaign already has agreed to another debate in California. I hope that we can soon settle on a date and place for that debate.”

According to The Hill:

Sanders’s win does little to close the delegate gap in the race, but it frustrates rival Hillary Clinton’s attempts to clinch the nomination.The Vermont senator will take a majority of West Virginia’s 29 pledged delegates, of a total 37.

Clinton’s frustrations are likely to continue with states coming up — including Oregon and the biggest delegate prize, California — where Sanders likes his chances.

Though the mainstream and corporate media continue to push a narrative suggesting the race for Democratic nomination is essentially over, polling released in the last twenty-four hours shows that Sanders continues to do better nationally in a hypothetical general-election matchup against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Karli Wallace Thompson, a campaign manager for Democracy for America, an advocacy group backing Sanders’ campaign, said Tuesday’s win in West Virginia should not be downplayed.

“Regardless of what the mainstream media would like you to believe, these victories matter,” said Thompson, “and not just because each win gets us closer to overtaking Hillary Clinton in the delegate count.”

Sanders’ latest victories matter, argues Thompson, “because they send a clear message to the Democratic Party that we refuse to give up on our values. Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, some pro-corporate Democrats are sensing an opportunity to move the party even further to the right in order to win the votes of ‘Never Trump’ voters. They’re ignoring the fact that modern presidential elections are always won by candidates who motivate their base and speak to their values.”

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