Western Saturday took place this weekend, marking a major moment for Democratic presidential hopefuls. The states of Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington had the chance to caucus for candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Despite her frontrunner status, it was Sanders who won the day by sweeping all three states by incredibly wide margins. Because caucuses occupy a unique space in the election cycle, attendance and participants — that is, community and county delegates — don't necessarily match up with attendees. For that reason, many are wondering how many people voted in Alaska?
It may at first glance appear that just 539 people took to caucus locations around the state on Saturday but that number doesn't tell the full story. That rather low number accounts for "state convention delegates won," according to The New York Times; this denotes "state house delegates" whose numbers are effectively consolidated to reflect delegate distribution. What that number fails to reveal is just how many people participated on Saturday, though.
The Last Frontier State released a spreadsheet detailing total caucus attendance as well as overall location delegate breakdown. About 1.4 percent of the state — 10,617 people — participated in all. The data on the Alaska Democratic Caucus spreadsheet also reflects the dizzying support of Sanders throughout the state. The Vermont senator bested Clinton by nabbing nearly 82 percent of the vote overall. His winning margins were well into double-digits in all 40 districts — the closest race, in Anchorage, had Sanders up 65.11 percent to Clinton's 34.89 percent. Reports from caucus sites around Alaska indicate that some locations were so overwhelmed that parking lots were used to mitigate the overflow.
The forceful victory is a particular boon for the Sanders team, who campaigned heavily in Alaska. The candidate's wife, Jane, traveled to Alaska to campaign at several events. As of this writing, Sanders has received 13 delegates from the caucus event while Clinton received three. There are four superdelegates who have yet to pledge their support for either candidate.
The Vermont senator has already set his sights on upcoming important primary and caucus events leading up to the Democratic National Convention in the summer. He delivered his Western Saturday victory speech at a rally in Wisconsin — the next state to hold a Democratic primary. Sanders had this to say about his big wins:
We knew things were going to improve as we headed West. We have a path toward victory. ... Don't let anybody tell you we can't win the nomination or win the general election. We're going to do both of those things.
The Wisconsin Democratic primary will take place on Tuesday, April 5. Data from FiveThirtyEight suggests that Clinton will emerge victorious, though by a much smaller margin than Sanders' dominating victory over the former Secretary of State in Alaska.