March 9, 2016 at 12:13 am EST | by Chris Johnson
Surprise win for Sanders in Michigan
Bernie Sanders, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) scored a surprise win in Michigan on Tuesday. (Photo by Nick Solari; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The primary contests on Tuesday resulted in more split wins for 2016 presidential hopefuls — including surprise results in Michigan in favor of Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.).

The four states that held contests were Mississippi and Michigan, where both parties held contests, and Hawaii and Idaho, where Republicans held their primaries.

Among the Republicans, Donald Trump won Mississippi, Michigan and Hawaii, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won Idaho. For the Democrats, Clinton won Mississippi and Sanders took Michigan.

The Associated Press declared Sanders the winner late Tuesday in Michigan hours after polls closed in the state at 8 p.m. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Sanders had 49.9 percent of the vote compared to 48.2 percent won by Clinton.

Those results defied polls leading up to the primary, which in many cases predicted Clinton would trounce Sanders by 20 or more points.

State Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo), who’s gay and described himself as “a Hillary voter and a Bernie fan,” said the win by Sanders that night demonstrates Democrats are energized.

“The higher turnout levels in the Democratic primary show Democrats are ready to win in November,” Hoadley said. “The strong showing by Sen. Sanders signals the growing priority of voters to fix our broken campaign finance system, a message all Democrats can support.”

Despite Sanders’ win in Michigan, he still received fewer delegates on Tuesday than Clinton because of her resounding win in Mississippi. Additionally, Clinton has now earned more than half of the 2,383 delegates needed to claim the Democratic presidential nomination.

With 94 percent of precincts reporting in Mississippi, Clinton won by 82.9 percent compared to Sanders’ 16.2 percent.

Joce Pritchett, one of the Mississippi plaintiffs who sued for marriage equality in the state and a 2015 candidate for state auditor, celebrated Clinton’s win there.

“Until I colored in that circle today I didn’t realize how excited I am at the prospect of having a woman president,” Pritchett said. “And I’m so proud of Mississippi for helping her get there.”

On the Republican side, Trump was declared the winner in Mississippi shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Trump claimed 47.6 percent of the vote, followed by Cruz with 36.4 percent, Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 8.6 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) with 5 percent.

Pritchett wasn’t as favorable to the win in Mississippi by Trump, whom she said “brings out the worst in Southerners.”

“He panders to that racist base that keeps us at the bottom,” Pritchett said. They are real and they vote. I think our choice will be clear in November.”

Trump also scored a win in Michigan, where media outlets declared his victory immediately as polls closed. With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Trump won 36.8 percent of the vote, followed by Cruz with 24.7 percent, Kasich win 24.3 percent and Rubio with 9.2 percent. The third place finish is a serious blow to Kasich, who has staked his campaign on his performance in the Midwest.

In Idaho, the Associated Press declared Cruz the winner shortly after 9 pm Pacific Time. With 49 percent of precincts reporting, Cruz won 43.3 percent of the vote, followed by Trump with 27.6 percent, Rubio with 18.3 percent and Kasich with 7.1 percent.

In Hawaii, media outlets call the primary in favor of Trump after shortly after 9 pm Hawaii Time. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Trump claimed 42.4 percent of the vote, followed by Cruz with 32.7 percent, Rubio with 13.1 percent and Kasich with 10.6 percent.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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