Night of the underdogs: Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders win the Wisconsin primaries

A Wisconsin victory breathes new life into the Cruz campaign.
A Wisconsin victory breathes new life into the Cruz campaign.
Image: AP Photo/John Locher
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Texas senator Ted Cruz has won the Wisconsin Republican primary, beating frontrunner Donald Trump by a double-digit margin.

Cruz really needed a win to blunt Trump’s march to the nomination—it’s arguably his biggest night since the Iowa caucuses, where voting began—and he easily trumped Trump thanks to the endorsement of the Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and the state’s conservative radio hosts.

“Tonight is a turning point. We have a choice—a real choice,” Cruz said in his victory speech.

It’s surely a confidence booster for the Texas senator as he heads into similarly auspicious primaries in Kansas and Utah.

Cruz’s victory means that Trump will have to win about 70% of the remaining delegates if he wants to secure the nomination outright, without a divisive convention fight. If Trump falls short, then any of the three remaining Republican candidates—even Ohio governor John Kasich, who finished a distant third—could still win the nomination.

On the Democratic side, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders beat out former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, with a preliminary lead of 53-46% with 31% of precincts reporting. That extends a healthy winning streak dating back to the Idaho caucus in March. Sanders also won in Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington.

But if the Wisconsin victory margin holds, it’s not going to be enough to seriously wound Clinton: Sanders has won a number of small states, but time is running out for him to close the gap.

Her campaign has already begun working toward likely victories in the delegate-heavy states of New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.