With a win in Mississippi, Clinton is slowly squeezing Sanders out of the Democratic race

Death grip.
Death grip.
Image: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Update, 1130pm ET

Exit polls show that Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic primary in Mississippi over senator Bernie Sanders, the Associated Press reports, even as the vote in Michigan is deadlocked.

The vast bulk of the day’s 166 nominating delegates at stake will be awarded in the northern state. But Clinton’s win in Mississippi—where her margin of victory is expected to be large—is important to her campaign’s path to winning the nomination by maximizing turn-out in states where her backers, especially black voters, are especially predominant.

Clinton has been steadily edging Sanders out of the race by running up the score in populous southern states like Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, and Georgia. When voting began today, Sanders needed to win 58% of the delegates in the remaining contests to stay on pace with Clinton—an unlikely result even with tightening national polls.

With an easy win in Mississippi, and a close outcome in Michigan that will split the state’s delegates no matter who actually wins the state, Clinton has been steadily making the math more difficult for Sanders. Next up: The March 15 votes in the populous states of Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio.

This post will be updated when the Michigan results are in.