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Sanders Wins Oregon Primary, Clinton Has A Slim Lead In Kentucky

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There is some suspense in the latest round of Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton has a slim lead over Bernie Sanders in Kentucky. She declared victory, but NPR has not called that race yet. In Oregon, Sanders claimed a sizable victory. Here is his reaction last night. He was here in California, which votes in early June.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

BERNIE SANDERS: We are in until the last ballot is cast.

(CHEERING)

MONTAGNE: NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro is on the line now. Good morning.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: So last night's results - what do they tell us?

MONTANARO: Well, look. I mean, first off, Bernie Sanders continues to win in places that you would expect him to win or he would expect to win based on the demography and how this race has played out. It was a surprise, frankly, that Clinton could seem to pull it out in Kentucky. She has a narrow lead. The race has not been called yet by the AP with some precincts still out. But it was a close primary, which has helped her in the past. And it - but it really doesn't do much to change the math at this point. Clinton moved a little bit closer to that magic number. She's now within a hundred delegates of the 2,383 she needs, including superdelegates. And she'll most likely cross on June 7 after New Jersey votes.

MONTAGNE: And Bernie Sanders, as we've just heard - and heard many times before, actually - he's not giving up. And there was some ugliness in Nevada over the weekend, where Clinton got more delegates at the state's party convention. There was violence, there was threats against the state party chair by apparent Sanders supporters, you know, on her - you know, messages on her phone. Now he, Bernie Sanders, is in a kind of war of words with party leaders. Talk to us about that.

MONTANARO: Yeah, he certainly is. And, you know, Sanders clearly hasn't come to a point of acceptance yet in this race. He was in California last night, which has a huge trench of delegates on June 7. He knows it's a steep hill. He said it was a steep hill last night. But what he's talking about when he talks about taking on the Democratic establishment - they're all against us - you know, he's playing with a little bit of a dangerous - you know, it's a little bit of a dangerous thing to talk about because in an election that you have Donald Trump on the other side, there are a lot of Democrats and supporters of Hillary Clinton who see the end of the tunnel here. And they would like Bernie Sanders to speak in a more unifying way. He hasn't gone after her, you know, speeches on Wall Street or any of that lately. So let's see what happens after June 7.

He's still saying that he's going to take this fight into the convention, even though there's really no rationale for superdelegates to switch unless he wins a pledge majority. And it doesn't look like he'll be able to do that at this point, needing some 66 percent or more of those delegates to get a pledge majority. So, you know, it's going to be interesting to see after June 7 how he changes the tone, if at all.

MONTAGNE: All right. Well, you just mentioned Donald Trump. And he, of course, and Megyn Kelly have been making news because they have got together, so to speak, in an interview. How did that go? I mean, was Megyn Kelly tough? What did he do?

MONTANARO: Well, Megyn Kelly wasn't as tough as she was in that first debate, that's for sure. And they definitely made nice. Let's put it that way. Trump kind of defended his tone during the campaign. He said he had some regrets, but he wasn't very specific (laughter) about what regrets he had. He made the case that had he not been so tough and hit back at people - that he probably wouldn't have won. And he said that if he doesn't win this fall, it's going to be a waste of time, money and energy. And clearly, he must have liked the interview because afterward, he tweeted - well done, Megyn. And they lived happily ever after. So...

MONTAGNE: You're right. They - (laughter) that interview on Fox, which is what they have in common as well. OK. Last night, Trump announced a joint fundraising operation with the Republican Party. What about that?

MONTANARO: Well, now he's hired a pollster. He's raising money with the party. He's talking about voter data and how important that is, which is something about a week ago - or a few days ago, even - had just said - had downplayed that. He really does need a more traditional campaign apparatus to be able to run and win in a successful general election because he has a very narrow path. It goes through the Midwest. He's going to have to win in places like Michigan and Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he's going to hope to use something like NAFTA against Hillary Clinton, whose husband signed that bill, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But, you know, it's going to be very difficult for him. The campaign that he ran in a primary is very different than what he has to run in a general election. He really stoked a lot of racial resentment. And it's going to be hard for him to be able to use the kind of talk about immigrants and women that does turn off Republican women in the suburbs to be able to win in places like Pennsylvania. It's hard to do.

MONTAGNE: Got to leave it at that. Thanks. NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.