The 2016 primary season continues Saturday, with the two remaining Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, battling for more than 140 delegates. Three states are holding Democratic caucuses: Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington. Out of those states, Alaska has the fewest delegates to offer the Democratic candidates — just 16 delegates. Still, the Sanders and Clinton campaigns are not giving up. At this point, and for Sanders in particular, every delegate counts.
Although Alaska is not a winner-take-all state, the Last Frontier State only has one congressional district; ten delegates are allocated to that district. The 10 delegates are rewarded proportionally in that district, and whoever wins the state receives the extra six delegates.
Polling centers opened at 9 a.m. in Anchorage Saturday morning, with centers throughout the state opening an hour later. Alaska voters only have until 1 p.m (AKDT) to cast their vote for either Clinton or Sanders. Results aren't expected to be released until later in the afternoon.
According to those on the ground in Alaska, the large turnout should bode well for Sanders. The Vermont senator is also expected to have a solid turnout in Washington and Hawaii, where he recently received some high-profile endorsements.
Sanders entered Saturday's presidential contests trailing Clinton by nearly 300 delegates. Sanders currently has 952 pledged delegates, while Clinton has already obtained 1,229 delegates. Under DNC rules, a Democratic candidate needs at least 2,383 delegates to clinch the nomination.
Although Sanders — nor Clinton — has campaigned on the ground in Alaska, the Vermont senator is hoping to click with the state's predominantly white and anti-establishment residents. It's also worth noting that Clinton lost Alaska to then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008.
Meanwhile, in progressive Washington, Sanders took a large lead early on in the caucus voting Saturday. The Seattle Times reported that with 7 percent of precincts reporting Saturday afternoon, Sanders led Clinton 75 percent to 25 percent. The news source added that Sanders had a 3-1 margin, setting him up for a landslide win.
Sanders, too, may receive a much-needed win in Hawaii, where he received a push in the last week with the endorsement from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a rising politician who is highly respected both in her native Hawaii and in Washington, D.C. Hawaii has just 25 delegates to offer, while Washington has more than 100 delegates up for grabs.