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Clinton, Sanders locked in tight contests in Kentucky & Oregon primaries; Trump wins Oregon

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WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were neck-and-neck in Kentucky’s presidential primary Tuesday, as Clinton sought to blunt the momentum of her Democratic rival ahead of a likely general election match-up against Republican Donald Trump.

The race was too close to call a winner in Kentucky. With almost all the votes counted, the margin between the two candidates was less than one-half of 1 percent as Clinton tried to avoid ending the primary season with a string of losses to the Vermont senator. Sanders was favored in Oregon’s primary later Tuesday.

Donald Trump, who is now running uncontested, won the Republican presidential primary in Oregon.

Clinton holds a commanding lead of nearly 300 pledged delegates over Sanders and a dominant advantage among party officials and elected leaders known as superdelegates. The outcomes in Kentucky and Oregon were not expected to change that and the former secretary of state remains on track to clinch the nomination in early June.

Trump was competing in the sole GOP contest in Oregon. The billionaire businessman picked up nine delegates earlier Tuesday in Guam, which held its territorial convention in March, and had 1,143 delegates heading into the Oregon contest — fewer than 100 delegates short of the 1,237 he needs to clinch the nomination.

For Democrats, 55 delegates were up for grabs in Kentucky and 61 delegates were at stake in Oregon. Clinton and Sanders will each pick up at least 25 delegates in Kentucky, with five delegates remaining to be allocated pending final vote tallies.

Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, was the last Democrat to carry the state in a presidential election — he won Kentucky in 1992 and 1996 — and the former first lady tried to emphasize those ties in the days leading up to the primary.

“I’m excited about the primary but we’ve got to turn a lot of people out,” Clinton told a packed diner in Paducah, Kentucky, on Monday. “I’ll tell you this. I’m not going to give up on Kentucky in November. I want to help to bring back the kind of economy that worked for everybody in the 1990s.”

Nearing the end of a long primary slog, the two Democratic candidates are preparing for June 7 primaries in California, New Jersey and four other states. When pledged delegates and superdelegates are combined, Clinton is now about 95 percent of the way toward securing the Democratic nomination.

Sanders has vowed to campaign through the end of the primary season on June 14 in the District of Columbia and amass as many delegates as possible to influence the party’s platform and message.

He is still aiming to wrestle the nomination from Clinton, even though he would need to win about two-thirds of the remaining pledged delegates to end the primary season in a tie.