Clinton suffers primary setback as Trump marches toward November

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Salem, Oregon, U.S., May 10, 2016.

U.S. Democratic White House candidate Hillary Clinton lost the primary to Bernie Sanders in economically struggling West Virginia on Tuesday, possibly signaling trouble for her in industrial states in the November general election.

The defeat slowed Clinton’s march to the nomination, but she is still heavily favored to become the Democratic candidate in the Nov. 8 election to face presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Trump, 69, has zeroed in on Clinton’s long battle with Sanders, the 74-year-old U.S. senator from Vermont. He has taunted Clinton in recent days, saying she “can’t close the deal.” The billionaire Republican won contests in West Virginia and Nebraska handily on Tuesday.

Trump has begun to release more policy specifics as he nears his party’s nomination and in the last month has contacted at least two top conservative economists, Larry Kudlow of CNBC and Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, for help revising his tax package, Politico reported on Wednesday.

His tax plan has been under scrutiny as he has worked to tone down remarks about raising taxes on wealthy Americans, saying the rich might simply get a smaller tax cut than he originally proposed.

For Clinton, 68, her failure to win over voters deeply skeptical about the economy underscored how she still needs to court working-class voters in the Rust Belt, including key states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. West Virginia has one of the highest unemployment rates in country.

Sanders, who has vowed to take his campaign all the way to the Democrats’ July 25-28 convention in Philadelphia, has repeatedly said he is the stronger candidate to beat Trump in November, and following his West Virginia win, he emphasized economic themes.

Trump is set to meet with party leaders in the U.S. Congress on Thursday, including U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan.

After Ryan said last week that he was not ready to endorse Trump, the presumptive nominee said he would have to decide whether he still wanted Ryan to preside over the party’s July convention.

Trump said in a Fox interview on Tuesday night that he would like Ryan to chair the convention as planned. “He’s a very good man, he wants what’s good for the party,” he said.

Also, Trump said he had narrowed his potential vice presidential choices to five or six experienced politicians, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, told the AP in an interview he had not ruled out New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a former rival now supporting Trump’s bid for the White House.

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