SANDERS, CRUZ WIN WISCONSIN PRIMARIES
MILWAUKEE • Republican Ted Cruz captured a crucial victory Tuesday in the Wisconsin primary, a significant step in his efforts to block front-runner Donald Trump’s path to the presidential nomination and push the Republican contest toward a rare convention fight.
In the Democratic race, Bernie Sanders defeated front-runner Hillary Clinton, giving him a burst of momentum but barely denting his rival’s delegate lead.
Trump’s defeat came amid one of his worst periods of his campaign, a brutal stretch that highlighted his weaknesses with women and raised questions about his policy depth.
While the billionaire businessman still leads the Republican field, Cruz and other anti-Trump forces hope Wisconsin marks a turning point in the chaotic Republican nominating contest.
Exit polls in the state underscored the concerns about Trump that are surging through some corners of the Republican Party. Nearly four in 10 Republican voters in Wisconsin said they were scared about what Trump would do as president.
For Sanders, Wisconsin was favourable territory, with an overwhelming white electorate and liberal pockets of voters.
Even with his Wisconsin victory, Sanders is unlikely to gain much ground. Because Democrats award delegates proportionally, a narrow victory by either candidate on Tuesday would mean that both Sanders and Clinton would get a similar number of delegates.
Heading into Tuesday’s voting, Clinton had 1,243 delegates to Sanders’ 980 based on primaries and caucuses. When including superdelegates, the party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton holds a much wider lead — 1,712 to Sanders’ 1,011. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination.
Clinton’s campaign has cast her lead as nearly insurmountable. Yet Sanders’ continued presence in the race has become an irritant for the former secretary of state.
According to exit polls, conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press, Sanders has excited voters in Wisconsin, with more than half of Democratic primary-goers saying the senator inspires them more about the future of the country. But three-quarters of Democratic voters say Clinton has realistic policies.
Trump has battled a series of campaign controversies in the lead-up to Wisconsin, including his campaign manager’s legal problems following an altercation with a female reporter and his own awkward stumbles in clarifying his views on abortion. Wisconsin’s Republican establishment, including Gov. Scott Walker, has also campaigned aggressively against the businessman.
Complicating the primary landscape for both Cruz and Trump is the continuing candidacy of John Kasich. The Ohio governor’s only victory has come in his home state, but he’s still picking up delegates that would otherwise help Trump inch closer to the nomination or help Cruz catch up.