TULSA -- As Hillary Clinton hunkered down Wednesday in South Carolina, the site of the next Democratic presidential primary, Bernie Sanders was peering over the horizon.
The Vermont senator started his day with a news conference in Columbia, S.C., but then left the Palmetto State, touching down for large-scale rallies in Missouri and Oklahoma -- two states where he stands a better chance to prevail.
Bernie Sanders discovers the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. pic.twitter.com/1C83zcZoEY
— John Wagner (@WPJohnWagner) February 24, 2016
Sanders’s raucous evening rally here drew close to 9,000 people to a downtown convention center, including about 2,000 who couldn't get in. Oklahoma is among 11 states with Democratic primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday, March 1, just three days after South Carolina’s contest.
“When I look out at this crowd, I don’t think there’s any way we’re going to lose on Tuesday,” an upbeat Sanders told his crowd, which roared in approval.
His earlier rally in Kansas City, which drew an estimated 7,100 people, served as a twofer of sorts. Missouri holds its primary on March 15, while Kansas, just across border, holds caucuses on March 5. The crowd was a mixture of residents from both sides of the Missouri River.
Clinton is widely expected to prevail in South Carolina, largely on the strength of her popularity among African Americans, who accounted for more than half the primary electorate in 2008.
Sanders bristled when asked at his morning news conference if his travel schedule indicated he had written off the state.
“No, no, no, no, no,” he said, as the two African American state lawmakers who joined him at the news conference shook their heads.
“We are fighting here in South Carolina as hard as we can, but within the context, you know,” he said, adding that Clinton just spent two days in California raising money. “I mean, she is not writing off the state.”
After his rally here, Sanders was set to depart for Ohio, where he has a campaign stop scheduled Thursday morning. He also plans to visit Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota before returning to South Carolina on Friday.