Democrat Sanders wins Maine caucuses

Democrat Sanders wins Maine caucuses

Washington - Bernie Sanders scored a decisive victory over rival Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race for president Sunday, easily beating her in the party caucuses in the northeastern state of Maine.

With almost all of the precincts reporting, Sanders beat Clinton with 64.3 per cent of the vote compared to her 35.5 per cent.

It was an expected win for the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist candidate, who hails from nearby Vermont and enjoys strong backing in the region.

Clinton however remains far ahead in the total number of delegates needed to win the Democratic Party nomination.

"I thank the people of Maine for their strong support," the Sanders campaign said in a statement.

"With another double-digit victory, we have now won by wide margins in states from New England to the Rocky Mountains and from the Midwest to the Great Plains."

The Maine victory pushes Sanders's total wins to eight in 19 contests.

Clinton and Sanders late Sunday also faced off in a televised debate in Flint, Michigan, just two days before a crucial primary in that delegate-rich northern industrial state.

They tackled the scandal surrounding the lead-contaminated water in the city, with Sanders railing against the "disgrace beyond belief."

Both Clinton and Sanders called for the state's Republican governor to resign.

On Saturday, Clinton won in Louisiana, the biggest prize of the weekend contests, but Sanders won in Kansas and Nebraska.

Clinton was favoured in Louisiana thanks to overwhelming support from African American voters, while Sanders has done better in states with mostly white voters.

Sanders told CNN that his campaign was on the upswing.

"Just in the last two days, we have won the caucuses in Maine -- we won that tonight with a very large turnout -- we won Nebraska, we won Kansas, and Kansas was the biggest turnout in their caucus history," he said.

"I think we are exciting working class people, young people who are prepared to stand up and demand that we have a government that represents all of us and not just the few," he said.

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