- REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz just picked up a critical win in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary.
Multiple outlets projected soon after polls closed that Cruz would defeat GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Trump had repeatedly predicted that he would defeat Cruz in Wisconsin despite polls suggesting otherwise.
Cruz’s win is especially important because it makes it more difficult for Trump to secure their party’s nomination outright.
“Tonight is a turning point,” Cruz said in a victory speech from his Wisconsin campaign headquarters, during which he also thanked Gov. Scott Walker for his support and endorsement.
Before the primary season ends, Trump is hoping to get the 1,237 delegates necessary to avoid a contested convention in July. If the real-estate magnate falls short of that number, a contested convention would allow anti-Trump forces to potentially coalesce against him.
Cruz told his supporters on Tuesday that he’s going to get the needed 1,237 delegates “either before Cleveland or at the convention in Cleveland.”
He proclaimed that he had defied the odds by defeating Trump in the state, but he was actually the clear favorite there. Trump had made a series of recent stumbles along the campaign trail, and Wisconsin’s political dynamics favored Cruz. The Texas senator had led Trump by nearly five points in the RealClearPolitics average of recent Wisconsin polls.
Trump is hoping to salvage a few of the 42 delegates at stake. Although winning the statewide vote guarantees Cruz a batch of delegates, Trump can gain three delegates for each congressional district he wins. The data-news site FiveThirtyEight had reported earlier that Trump initially appeared competitive in two of the state’s eight districts.
Leading up to the crucial primary, Trump barnstormed the state for days in hopes of catching up to Cruz after the senator started to pull ahead. He held six Wisconsin rallies between Saturday and Monday.
The next Republican primary, in New York, is on April 19.