WISCONSIN (WIVB-AP) — Party front-runners for both the Democrats and Republicans did not come away with victories in Tuesday’s primary night in Wisconsin.
Instead, the victories fell to Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, who have been climbing in popularity as the race has matured and as party conventions near.
Both candidates are looking to capitalize on the weaknesses of their party front-runners. Sanders is targeting Hillary Clinton’s vulnerabilities on taking donations from large corporations, along with her historical record as a
politician. Cruz is targeting a wide variety of chinks in Donald Trump’s hypothetical chain mail, including his questionable personal attacks.
Ted Cruz capitalized on a wave of support from establishment Republicans eager to derail Donald Trump. Cruz came out on top in Wisconsin, slowing the billionaire businessman’s bid to win the GOP nomination outright. Cruz had won Gov. Scott Walker’s endorsement and the favor of the state’s influential conservative talk radio hosts.
Trump always had an uphill battle in Wisconsin, and that was before he stumbled several times, including having to retreat from remarks on abortion. The statewide victory netted Cruz 18 of the state’s 42 delegates, though Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich held out hope of picking up a few delegates with wins in individual congressional districts.
The race was tighter on the Democratic side, with Bernie Sanders hoping to build on winning five of the past six states’ contests. He has sought to link Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton to trade policies that he said contributed to the loss of Wisconsin manufacturing jobs.
Clinton emphasized her long ties to the Democratic Party — a gibe at Sanders’ longtime status as an independent — and questioned the practicality of such Sanders promises as free college tuition.
At stake for the Democrats are 86 delegates, and because the delegates are awarded based on the proportion of votes a candidate receives, a close race is unlikely to yield a major delegate haul for Clinton or Sanders. The state also has 10 super delegates, including congressional delegation members and Democratic National Committee members, who will go to the national convention unbound by Tuesday’s vote. Five of those have committed, all to Clinton.
The Wisconsin primary is a lead-in to large states like Pennsylvania, New York and more, which will play key roles in choosing a nominee.