A resilient Bernie Sanders went gunning for Hillary Clinton's commanding lead as Alaska, Hawaii and Washington states took their turn voting today in the Democratic presidential nominating contest.
Defeat to Clinton in the trio of western caucuses was unlikely to deal a fatal blow to the chances of the Vermont senator, a self-described democratic socialist, but opportunities are running out if he is to pull off an unlikely upset and seize the Democratic nomination.
Sanders, 74, gave a rousing rendition of his standard stump speech late yesterday in Seattle, Washington, just hours ahead of the caucus there, railing against police brutality, a too-low minimum wage, and soaring student debt and other ills.
"Real change historically always takes place from the bottom on up when millions of people come together," Sanders said to applause and cheers from the crowd in the city's Safeco baseball stadium.
"We need a political revolution!"
Sanders also needs success today because Clinton, the long-time frontrunner, has a comfortable lead in the delegate race with 1,711, including super-delegates who are unelected by voters, compared to 952 for Sanders, according to a CNN count.
To win the Democratic nomination, 2,383 delegates are needed.
On the campaign trail, Clinton, the former secretary of state, has already shifted her focus toward November's general election.
She delivered a somber counterterrorism speech Wednesday in the aftermath of deadly attacks in Brussels, using it as an opportunity to launch vigorous assaults on Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and warn their "reckless" foreign policies would harm US interests.
"We need to rely on what actually works, not bluster that alienates our partners and doesn't make us any safer," she said.
But Sanders has refused to throw in the towel, repeatedly stressing that his grassroots campaign is heading all the way to July's nominating convention in Philadelphia.
Washington is today's biggest prize with 101 pledged delegates up for grabs. When Sanders brought his message of "political revolution" to a Seattle arena last Sunday, an estimated 17,000 people showed up.
The Pacific island state of Hawaii, birthplace of President Barack Obama, has 25 delegates at stake. Remote Alaska has 16.
There has been little reliable polling in the three states, but in Washington Sanders can take comfort in previous results.