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Delegates, Democrats and dilemmas

I don't understand why Bernie Sanders keeps winning primaries, but Hillary Clinton seems to be a lock to get the Democratic nomination. Bernie won in Oregon, but it sounds like Clinton got just as many delegates. What gives?

— Samuel, by email

Samuel, Hillary Clinton didn't get as many delegates as Bernie Sanders in Oregon's Democrat primary for president. It appears that when everything is finalized, Bernie will get about 35 delegates, while Hillary will get somewhere in the vicinity of 25. That's because Oregon delegates are apportioned based on the percentage of the vote the candidates each get. Sanders won 56 percent of the vote to Clinton's 44 percent.

So, Bernie won the battle, but Hillary is winning the war. With seven primaries left, Clinton has 1,767 pledged delegates, while Sanders has 1,488.

When superdelegates are included, Clinton's lead grows. She has about 520 superdelegates — party officials and Democrat politicians who can vote however they choose — while Sanders has 42.

When you add it up, Clinton has 2,289 delegates, only 94 delegates short of the 2,383 she needs to earn the nomination. Sanders, by contrast, is 853 short. Some of the superdelegate numbers are changing almost daily, so the figures may have altered slightly by the time you read this.

Sander's chances look particularly gloomy given the 548 delegates up for grabs in the California primary. Clinton is currently leading in the polls there, but even if Bernie ended up winning, she would need to get only about 18 percent of the vote to put her delegate count over the top.

As for Sanders winning primaries, he has indeed: 19 of them. But Clinton has won 24. California has the next primary on June 7.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.