With the vote virtually tied with 99 percent returns, Hillary Clinton is holding the slimmest of leads in Missouri--by about 1,500 votes out of almost 620,000 votes statewide.
This is a huge win for Clinton (if it holds), especially in a state with an enormous college population, including the University of Missouri system with over 77,000 students.
Sanders usually thrives in these settings, and he took Boone County, where the Columbia campus is located by 61 percent. However, Clinton's leads in Kansas City, St. Louis, and the S.E. part of the state were overwhelming.
But Missouri was important to the Clinton campaign for more than just college votes -- it put an end to Sander's aspirations at a major push in the central United States to combat Clinton's sweep of the South.
In short, winning Missouri was her best damage control to date from losing Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, and keeps Sanders from 'connecting the states' with wins.
Combined with her other wins of the night, she's showing the Democratic base that she can win anywhere: the Rust Belt, South, or Central U.S. From a mathematical standpoint, no one has ever overcome the lead she has created to capture the race in the end; it's looking like she neatly tied up a 'silent win' last night.
But the biggest significant change in Clinton's campaigning might be from the reality that Sanders doesn't seem to be 'going anywhere' when it comes to withdrawing from a hopeless race, even with Clinton having an insurmountable lead at this point in both pledged and superdelegates.
It would be a horrendous error for Sanders to exit the race before the Republican primary is finalized -- too much of a risk of losing valuable 'free' advertising for the party in the form of media attention.
Sanders needs to stay in at least as long as the Republicans continue to battle it out, but for Clinton to maintain credibility as both the front-runner and mathematically presumed primary winner, she's going to have to win in every contest she faces.
With her huge win last night, it is time for Clinton to begin her conciliatory move to unify the party and to court the valuable center vote away from the Republicans.
As long as the Republicans maintain a bitter contest, this will give Clinton valuable time to win over the center vote long before the general election.
From this point out, the primary season is going to favor whoever is looking beyond the immediate necessities of winning -- those looking, planning, and courting the valuable unity and swing votes.
So in reality, winning in Missouri is Clinton's signal to start campaigning for the general election -- and she will thrive if she can keep her message positive and focused.