Bernie Sanders wins Michigan primary, throwing wrench in Clinton's path to nomination

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In the Democratic primary battle's most stunning upset yet, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont defeated Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary on Tuesday, dealing a setback to her hopes of quickly wrapping up the party's nomination.

The Associated Press called the race just past 11:30 p.m. Eastern, with Sanders leading Clinton 50% to 48%.

While Clinton hoped that her strong support with African-American voters would power her to victory in the state, exit polls showed she won black voters by a smaller margin than in Southern contests. The former secretary of state coasted to victory in Mississippi on Tuesday with 86% support among black voters, but won less than two-thirds of the African-American vote in Michigan.

A shock win: Few predicted Tuesday night's result. The final RealClearPolitics polling average gave her a 59% to 37% lead over Sanders, and the challenger had his eye not on an outright win, but on a closer-than-expected finish.

Click through images from the Michigan primary:

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Bernie Sanders wins Michigan primary, throwing wrench in Clinton's path to nomination
Residents wait in line to vote in the presidential primary election at a polling station inside Western International High School in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The state-by-state fight for the presidency now centers on Michigan, home of Detroit's record $18 billion bankruptcy and a crisis over toxic drinking water in faded Flint. The state's primary is the first in the U.S. manufacturing belt and puts the spotlight on the economic health of post-industrial urban America. Photographer: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DETROIT, MI - MARCH 8: Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton poses for a photo while making a campaign stop at Avalon Bakery on the day of the Michigan Primary March 8, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. There are 59 Republican delegates and 130 Democratic delegates up for grabs in Michigan. Mississippi and Idaho are also holding primaries and Hawaii is holding a caucus. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
A puppet of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, is seen during the presidential primary election near a polling station in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The state-by-state fight for the presidency now centers on Michigan, home of Detroit's record $18 billion bankruptcy and a crisis over toxic drinking water in faded Flint. The state's primary is the first in the U.S. manufacturing belt and puts the spotlight on the economic health of post-industrial urban America. Photographer: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Residents preparing to vote in the presidential primary election walk inside a polling station at Western International High School in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The state-by-state fight for the presidency now centers on Michigan, home of Detroit's record $18 billion bankruptcy and a crisis over toxic drinking water in faded Flint. The state's primary is the first in the U.S. manufacturing belt and puts the spotlight on the economic health of post-industrial urban America. Photographer: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A puppet of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, is seen during the presidential primary election near a polling station in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The state-by-state fight for the presidency now centers on Michigan, home of Detroit's record $18 billion bankruptcy and a crisis over toxic drinking water in faded Flint. The state's primary is the first in the U.S. manufacturing belt and puts the spotlight on the economic health of post-industrial urban America. Photographer: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Election officials check residents in to vote in the presidential primary election at a polling station inside Western International High School in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The state-by-state fight for the presidency now centers on Michigan, home of Detroit's record $18 billion bankruptcy and a crisis over toxic drinking water in faded Flint. The state's primary is the first in the U.S. manufacturing belt and puts the spotlight on the economic health of post-industrial urban America. Photographer: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Warren, Mich., resident Barbara Wilder prepares to submit her ballot for the Michigan Primary election at Siersma Elementary School in Warren on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. (Salwan Georges/Detroit Free Press/TNS via Getty Images)
Shirley Klee, right, and her husband, Gordon Klee, vote with the help of Ballot Box Inspector Lamont Turner, left, during the Michigan primary elections at Western High School in Detroit on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. (Romain Blanquart/Detroit Free Press/TNS via Getty Images)
Resident Love McMiller stands for a photograph while collecting signatures outside of the polling station at Fire Station Eleven during the presidential primary election in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The state-by-state fight for the presidency now centers on Michigan, home of Detroit's record $18 billion bankruptcy and a crisis over toxic drinking water in faded Flint. The state's primary is the first in the U.S. manufacturing belt and puts the spotlight on the economic health of post-industrial urban America. Photographer: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Residents check in to vote in the presidential primary election at a polling station inside Douglass Academy for Young Men in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The state-by-state fight for the presidency now centers on Michigan, home of Detroit's record $18 billion bankruptcy and a crisis over toxic drinking water in faded Flint. The state's primary is the first in the U.S. manufacturing belt and puts the spotlight on the economic health of post-industrial urban America. Photographer: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A resident votes in the presidential primary election at a polling station inside Western International High School in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The state-by-state fight for the presidency now centers on Michigan, home of Detroit's record $18 billion bankruptcy and a crisis over toxic drinking water in faded Flint. The state's primary is the first in the U.S. manufacturing belt and puts the spotlight on the economic health of post-industrial urban America. Photographer: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Elderly residents vote in the presidential primary election at a polling station inside Western International High School in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The state-by-state fight for the presidency now centers on Michigan, home of Detroit's record $18 billion bankruptcy and a crisis over toxic drinking water in faded Flint. The state's primary is the first in the U.S. manufacturing belt and puts the spotlight on the economic health of post-industrial urban America. Photographer: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
ROYAL OAK, MI - MARCH 8: Residents vote in a gymnasium during the Michigan primary March 8, 2016 in Royal Oak, Michigan. There are 59 Republican delegates and 130 Democratic delegates up for grabs in Michigan. Mississippi and Idaho are also holding primaries and Hawaii is holding a caucus. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - MARCH 08: Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich greets supporters following a rally at the Lansing Brewing Company on March 8, 2016 in Lansing, Michigan. Voters in Michigan go to the polls today to select their partys presidential nominee. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROYAL OAK, MI - MARCH 8: Residents will be voting in a gymnasium during the Michigan primary March 8, 2016 in Royal Oak, Michigan. There are 59 Republican delegates and 130 Democratic delegates up for grabs in Michigan. Mississippi and Idaho are also holding primaries and Hawaii is holding a caucus. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Donald Trump supporter Clint Frost hands out stickers and pamphlets near a polling station in Warren, Michigan, March 8, 2016. US voters cast ballots in White House primaries in Michigan and Mississippi Tuesday, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton favored to win their parties' latest tests of strength. / AFP / Geoff Robins (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Voters line up to cast ballots for the Michigan presidential primary at a polling station in Warren, Michigan, March 8, 2016. US voters cast ballots in White House primaries in Michigan and Mississippi Tuesday, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton favored to win their parties' latest tests of strength. / AFP / Geoff Robins (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
A voter marks his ballot for the Michigan presidential primary at a polling station in Warren, Michigan, March 8, 2016. US voters cast ballots in White House primaries in Michigan and Mississippi Tuesday, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton favored to win their parties' latest tests of strength. / AFP / Geoff Robins (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - MARCH 08: Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich kisses his wife Karen before speaking at a campaign rally at the Lansing Brewing Company on March 8, 2016 in Lansing, Michigan. Voters in Michigan go to the polls today to select their partys presidential nominee. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A poll worker instructs voters at a polling station in Warren, Michigan, March 8, 2016. US voters cast ballots in White House primaries in Michigan and Mississippi Tuesday, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton favored to win their parties' latest tests of strength. / AFP / Geoff Robins (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
LANSING, MI - MARCH 08: Supporters listen as Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks at a campaign rally at the Lansing Brewing Company on March 8, 2016 in Lansing, Michigan. Voters in Michigan go to the polls today to select their partys presidential nominee. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Voters line up to cast ballots for the Michigan presidential primary at a polling station in Warren, Michigan, March 8, 2016. US voters cast ballots in White House primaries in Michigan and Mississippi Tuesday, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton favored to win their parties' latest tests of strength. / AFP / Geoff Robins (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - MARCH 8: Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton places an order at Astro Coffee while making a campaign stop on the day of the Michigan Primary March 8, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. There are 59 Republican delegates and 130 Democratic delegates up for grabs in Michigan. Mississippi and Idaho are also holding primaries and Hawaii is holding a caucus. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Stickers reading 'I Voted! Did You??' are seen at a polling station in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The state-by-state fight for the presidency now centers on Michigan, home of Detroit's record $18 billion bankruptcy and a crisis over toxic drinking water in faded Flint. The state's primary is the first in the U.S. manufacturing belt and puts the spotlight on the economic health of post-industrial urban America. Photographer: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
ROYAL OAK, MI - MARCH 8: Residents vote in the Michigan primary March 8, 2016 in Royal Oak, Michigan. There are 59 Republican delegates and 130 Democratic delegates up for grabs in Michigan. Mississippi and Idaho are also holding primaries and Hawaii is holding a caucus. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
ROYAL OAK, MI - MARCH 8: A resident votes in the Michigan primary March 8, 2016 in Royal Oak, Michigan. There are 59 Republican delegates and 130 Democratic delegates up for grabs in Michigan. Mississippi and Idaho are also holding primaries and Hawaii is holding a caucus. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
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Hard hit by decades of deindustrialization, Sanders saw the state as fertile ground for his anti-inequality, anti-free trade message. In the run-up to the primary, he blasted Clinton for her past support of trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement, asserting that they put the lie to her newfound opposition to the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

"I am very glad ... that Secretary Clinton discovered religion on this issue, but it's a little bit too late," Sanders said during Sunday's Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan. "Secretary Clinton supported virtually every one of these disastrous trade agreements written by corporate America — NAFTA, supported by the secretary, cost us 800,000 jobs nationwide ... permanent normal trade relations with China cost us millions of jobs."

That message seems to have reaped dividends for Sanders in Michigan, and it may yet work in other states with high concentrations of working-class white voters. Polling shows Sanders competitive with Clinton in Wisconsin, which holds its primary on April 5, and running far ahead of Clinton in West Virginia, where voters head to the polls on May 10.

Sanders' showing in Michigan also calls into question Clinton's advantage in Ohio, which votes on March 15.

Still, Clinton retains a healthy lead in the delegate count, and while the results in Michigan raise doubts about her ability to rapidly seal the deal, the odds remain overwhelmingly in her favor. But the smart money also said she would decisively beat Sanders in Michigan.

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