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Politics, Elections and Government

2016 Kansas Caucus Results: Bernie Sanders Declared Winner

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Cody Newill
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KCUR 89.3
Kansas City, Kansas Rep. Valdenia Winn helps a Democratic voter register to cast their caucus vote.

Updated, 5:50 a.m. Sunday:

Sen. Bernie Sanders was declared winner of the Kansas Democratic caucus by the Kansas Democratic Party Saturday evening, with 90 percent of precincts reporting. 

"People used to ask, 'What's the matter with Kansas?'" Sanders said in a victory statement. "It turns out that there's nothing the matter with Kansas when you give people a clear choice and involve them in the democratic process."

Sanders ended up with more than 26,000 votes to Clinton's 12,000, earning 23 Kansas delegates. The Kansas Democratic Party's declaration of Sanders' win noted that around 40,000 voters participated in the caucus, which was higher than in 2008. 

The original post continues below:

An estimated 1,500 Wyandotte County Democrats came to the Kansas City Kansas Community College's Technical Education Center to stump for their favored candidates Saturday afternoon.

Volunteers worked at a breakneck pace to register caucus participants, who were met with enthusiastic cheers from supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

For many of the participants, caucusing is a serious business. Matthew Vanberg cast his vote for Sanders, and said he won't even consider voting for Clinton if she wins the Democratic nomination. 

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Credit Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3
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KCUR 89.3
A Hillary Clinton supporter shows her excitement at the Kansas City Kansas Community College's Technical Education Center.

"I'd love to have a female president, I think most of us would," Vanberg said. "But Hillary Clinton is not that person. It's not her time."

Vanberg described Clinton's use of a private server to view classified documents as secretary of state as "criminal" and said he doesn't believe her platform is genuine. 

"I see her jumping on [views] that are exactly the same tune as Bernie Sanders, after all the points she was trying to hit home didn't resonate," Vanberg said. "How can I have confidence in that for a leader?"

For others like Maria Villa, who cast her vote for Clinton, choosing between Clinton and Sanders came down to difference in foreign policy experience.

"To be president is a huge job and you have to know the politics of it all to get things done," Villa said. "I would support Bernie Sanders if he were the candidate for the Democratic Party, but I just think Hillary has so much more experience." 

Though Villa and Vanberg cast different votes, they both said they believe a Donald Trump presidency would be harmful to the country. 

"His hatred every single day is just so disturbing," Villa said. "The fact that he is the top nominee for his party is very scary. Very scary."

Throughout the day, Clinton supporters appeared to outnumber Sanders supporters. Though once doors had closed at 3:00, the room appeared to have equaled out somewhat.

Results for the Kansas Democratic caucus are expected late Saturday evening.

Cody Newill is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him on Twitter @CodyNewill or send him an email at cody@kcur.org