Hillary Clinton was projected the winner of the Democratic primaries in Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio after voting concluded Tuesday evening.
Several news outlets declared Clinton the victor in Florida immediately after polls closed in the state at 8 P.M. EST. Later, the races in North Carolina and Ohio were also called in favor of Clinton.
CNN and the Associated Press also declared Clinton the victor in Illinois early Wednesday. Clinton edged out her competitor, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), by less than two percentage points. Meanwhile, Clinton and Sanders were still locked in a tight battle for Missouri Wednesday morning, the two separated by two-tenths of a percentage point with nearly 100 percent of precincts reporting.
The delegates in both Illinois and Missouri will be divided up proportionally.
Clinton celebrated her wins in a speech at her campaign headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida, Tuesday evening, thanking supporters and soliciting campaign contributions.
Democratic voters in five states headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their votes in the presidential primaries for either Clinton or Sanders.
While the former secretary of state was poised to win both Florida and North Carolina, contests in Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio were likely to be much closer. Over the past week, attention has focused on whether Sanders could upset Clinton as he did last Tuesday in the Michigan primary.
Both Clinton and Sanders campaigned in Ohio on Sunday, attending the state Democratic Party’s annual Legacy Dinner before facing Ohio voters at the CNN-TV One town hall at Ohio State University. Sanders also headlined a rally earlier Sunday in Columbus that netted approximately 7,000 attendees.
Clinton has faced scrutiny from Republicans and pro-coal groups for controversial statements she made about coal-industry jobs during Sunday night’s town hall.
“I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key to coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Clinton said when asked about how her economic agenda will benefit poor whites in rural areas of the country.
“We’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels. But I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on,” she added.
Clinton’s success in Ohio will depend, at least in part, on her ability to win over the state’s coal-country voters.
Clinton’s comment on coal jobs is not her only recent remark igniting criticism. On Monday night, the former secretary of state appeared at a town hall event in Illinois, during which she said that the United States “didn’t lose a single person” in Libya. Though she appeared to be referring to the effort to oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Clinton failed to acknowledge the September 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
While Clinton is still widely perceived to be the likely Democratic nominee, she has encountered an unexpectedly strong challenge from Sanders, who has enjoyed a windfall of support from young voters. Sanders has heavily criticized Clinton for her ties to Wall Street and big-money contributions.
Separately, Clinton continues to endure scrutiny for her use of private email at the State Department. The FBI is currently investigating her private server, which has been found to hold thousands of emails that contain classified information—including 22 “top secret” messages that the State Department was forced to withhold from public release.
As the FBI probe winds down, investigators could move to interview Clinton and her former aides about the unsecured server.