Sanders, Trump win presidential primaries in Vermont

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BURLINGTON >> Bernie Sanders won a huge victory in Vermont's Democratic presidential primary while Donald Trump eked out a narrow victory over Ohio Gov. John Kasich on the Republican side.

Sanders had 86.1 percent of the vote on Tuesday with 93 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial returns. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had 13.6 percent.

The GOP race was a squeaker: With 92 percent of precincts reporting, Trump was at 32.59 percent to Kasich's 30.62 percent, according to unofficial tallies.

Among other Republican candidates, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had about 19 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 9 percent and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson had 4 percent.

Sanders, speaking to thousands of cheering supporters at a campaign rally Tuesday evening in Essex Junction, noted that Tuesday also was Town Meeting Day, a state holiday when people go out and argue with their neighbors about town budgets and other issues.

"Then they vote, one person, one vote. In Vermont, billionaires do not buy town meetings, and in America we are going to end a corrupt campaign finance system," Sanders said, referring to one of his favorite campaign topics.

The senator from Vermont demolished Clinton in just about every voting category in the state, according to results of an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television stations. Eight in 10 women supported Sanders, while about 9 in 10 men voted for him; about 3 in 4 voters ages 65 or older supported Vermont's junior senator; and more than 9 in 10 under age 30 did, as well.

Running for president, Sanders did significantly better among Vermonters than he did running for the U.S. Senate in 2012. In that year's general election, he got 71 percent of the vote against Republican John MacGovern.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, a Democrat, described turnout across the state as moderate to heavy.

Montpelier salesman Sead Drljacic, 52, a naturalized citizen originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina, said he supported Sanders, too.

"I was in the war. I was in a concentration camp because I was different religion, different nation. Donald Trump is one who reminds me of people who started everything in Bosnia in the '90s," said Drljacic, who noted that he is Muslim.

Trump has proposed temporarily banning all non-citizen Muslims from entering the United States and said it's risky to take in Syrian refugees because terrorists could be among them.

Cleophace Mukeba, 49, a Congolese refugee who has been living in Burlington for 10 years, said he supported Sanders as well.

"I am voting for Bernie Sanders because the issue that is rising, about the economy, inequality, they are real issues. And for us, it's really important because we are refugees who have settled here 10 years ago," said Mukeba, who just finished a master's degree program at the Vermont Law School and is unemployed.


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