Bernie Sanders beats Clinton in West Virginia

Washington, May 11

US Democratic White House candidate Hillary Clinton lost the primary to Bernie Sanders in economically struggling West Virginia on Tuesday, possibly signalling trouble for her in industrial states in the November general election.

The defeat slowed Clinton’s march to the nomination, but she is still heavily favoured to become the Democratic candidate in the November 8 election to face presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Trump, 69, has zeroed in on Clinton’s long battle with Sanders, the 74-year-old US senator from Vermont. He has taunted Clinton in recent days, saying she “can’t close the deal.” The billionaire Republican won contests in West Virginia and Nebraska handily on Tuesday.

Trump has begun to release more policy specifics as he nears his party’s nomination and in the last month has contacted at least two top conservative economists, Larry Kudlow of CNBC and Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, for help revising his tax package, Politico reported today.

His tax plan has been under scrutiny as he has worked to tone down remarks about raising taxes on wealthy Americans, saying the rich might simply get a smaller tax cut than he originally proposed.

For Clinton, 68, her failure to win over voters deeply skeptical about the economy underscored how she still needs to court working-class voters in the Rust Belt, including key states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. West Virginia has one of the highest unemployment rates in country.

Sanders, who has vowed to take his campaign all the way to the Democrats’ July 25-28 convention in Philadelphia, has repeatedly said he is the stronger candidate to beat Trump in November, and following his West Virginia win, he emphasized economic themes.

Trump is set to meet party leaders in the US Congress on Thursday, including US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan.

After Ryan said last week that he was not ready to endorse Trump, the presumptive nominee said he would have to decide whether he still wanted Ryan to preside over the party’s July convention.