Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pumps his fists as he leaves the field after speaking at a rally Friday, March 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders easily won nominating contests in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii Saturday, chipping away at front-runner Hillary Clinton's commanding lead in the race to pick the party's candidate for the White House.Sanders still faces a steep climb to overtake Clinton but the big victories in the West generated more momentum for his upstart campaign and could stave off calls from Democratic leaders that he should wrap up his bid in the name of party unity. Heading into Saturday, she led Sanders by about 300 pledged delegates in the race for the 2,382 delegates needed to be nominated at the party's July convention in Philadelphia. Adding in the support of superdelegates -- party leaders who are free to back any candidate -- she has 1,690 delegates to 946 for Sanders. Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, needs to win up to two-thirds of the remaining delegates to catch Clinton, who will keep piling up delegates even when she loses under a Democratic Party system that awards them proportionally in all states.
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