Big wins give Sanders a boost

It was a big day for presidential hopeful Bernie SandersBernie SandersPicking longtime fixer as chief of staff proves Clinton hasn't changed The Trail 2016: Wikissues Brent Budowsky: An epic battle for the future of Congress MORE out West, where he crushed opponent Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from New Hampshire Senate debate Trump losing cash race in final weeks Report: Biden on top of Clinton's short list for secretary of State MORE in three Democratic contests Saturday. 

Sanders easily won caucuses in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii, grabbing a majority of the 142 pledged delegates in those states.

Fresh off projections that he won Alaska and Washington, Sanders told supporters at a rally in Wisconsin he has the momentum to win the Democratic nomination. 

“Don’t let anybody tell you we can’t win the nomination or win the general election,” he said, amid cheers of “we believe that we will win” from the audience. “We’re going to do both of those things.”

Sanders swept Washington, the biggest prize of the day with 101 delegates up for grabs. With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Sanders held about 72 percent of the vote. 

In Alaska, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Sanders won 80 percent of the vote. He will take 13 of the state's 16 delegates, according to the AP.

With 87.8 percent reporting in Hawaii, Sanders had 70.6 percent, the news service reported, winning a majority of the state's 25 delegates.

Sanders has said he sees a path to the Democratic nomination through the West Coast and has spent the last week campaigning there, even skipping the annual AIPAC conference in Washington.

While he still lags substantially behind Clinton in the delegate count, the momentum from the Saturday sweep could benefit Sanders as the candidates move toward April’s hotly contested Wisconsin primary.

Clinton and Sanders are neck-and-neck in that state, with Clinton leading by 6 points, according to an Emerson College poll released last Wednesday. The poll puts the former secretary of State up with 50 percent to Sanders’s 44 percent, with 5 percent undecided.

Before Saturday’s contests, Clinton had 1,223 pledged delegates with Sanders at 920. Clinton also has the support of 468 super delegates, while the Vermont senator has 29. 

But a victory in Wisconsin could further bolster Sanders, where there are 86 pledged delegates up for grabs. 

“We are making significant inroads in Secretary Clinton’s lead, and we have, with your support coming here in Wisconsin, we have a path toward victory,” Sanders said. 

Updated on March 27 at 5:39 a.m.