Hillary Clinton added to her aura of inevitability Tuesday by winning primaries in Maryland and three other states.
Maryland was the second-biggest prize among the five East Coast states casting ballots Tuesday in the so-called Acela primary. Victories here and in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut have made it more difficulty for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to catch Clinton in the delegate count.
Sanders won Rhode Island.
In a victory speech, Clinton called on Sanders’ supporters to gather behind her.
“We’re setting bold, progressive goals backed up by real plans,” she said in Philadelphia. “Whether you support Senator Sanders or you support me, there's much more that unites us than divides us.”
Sanders said late Tuesday he planned to continue running.
“The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be,” he said in a statement. “That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast.”
Sanders acknowledged as much during a television appearance before polls closed. He told CNN that his path to victory is "a narrow path, but we do have a path."
Clinton had led Sanders by double-digit numbers in polls here and racked up support from most of the state's Democratic establishment. With 99 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday morning, Clinton enjoyed 63 percent of the vote in Maryland. Sanders had 33 percent.
Former President Bill Clinton, stumped for his wife at churches in West Baltimore on Sunday, and Chelsea Clinton also held events in a late-primary state unaccustomed to playing a meaningful role in selecting presidential nominees.
The protracted fight for both the Republican and Democratic nomination gave Maryland's voters the chance to either stop or help both Clinton and front-runner Donald Trump on their march to their party nominations.
Rochelle Harrison, 66, voted for Clinton in Baltimore.
"She's been at the White House, both as first lady and as secretary of state. She has an inside insight into what it takes to get that job done," Harrison said. "I feel more comfortable about what she could accomplish. Yeah, she's a woman, and that's always great, but that didn't take precedence."
Raymond Woodson, a 40-year-old National Guardsman from West Baltimore, said it was time for more diversity in the White House.
"I'd like to see a female get into the presidency," he said.
Woodson settled on the former first lady after he heard Clinton and Sanders debate the best way to reduce prison populations.
While Sanders' proposal "sounded good," Woodson said, Clinton offered what he considered a pragmatic, comprehensive plan that included education, affordable housing and jobs to prevent people from going back to prison.
Woodson said he appreciated Sanders' focus on income inequality, but he doubted whether the feisty, self-described democratic socialist from Vermont could change it.
Woodson added said he and many of his neighbors in a part of the city rocked by unrest last year still held former president Bill Clinton in high esteem. He said Clinton’s housing policies helped him buy a house there 17 years ago, and he reveres him despite crime policies that ultimately helped incarcerate poor black men.
"They're different people, but Bill will still be in her ear," Woodson said. "Bill just made such an impression on our community."
Tom Mentzer voted for Clinton in Dundalk, but he wasn't particularly happy about it.
"The politicians they got this year, there's none worth voting for," he said. He called Clinton "the best of the evils."