MADISON, Wis. (UPI) — Wisconsin handed an important victory to Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday night, the latest bit of bad news for Donald Trump’s campaign.
This is when front-runner Trump was supposed to start closing the sale, but Wisconsin voters couldn’t care less. The Texas senator trounced Trump 48 percent to 34 percent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was a distant third with 14 percent.
“Tonight is a turning point,” Cruz told his supporters at a rally Tuesday night. “It is a rallying cry.”
Trump made no appearances Tuesday evening and returned to New York.
For Cruz, Wisconsin is all about the delegate math. His own path toward the nomination is all but closed. Even if he had swept all of Wisconsin’s 42 delegates — he got 33 — he would still need to win about 81 percent of the remaining delegates to capture the GOP nomination outright.
As Cruz has pointed out numerous times when asked about his chances of reaching 1,237 delegates, he does not need to win 81 percent of the vote down the home stretch, only enough to rattle off a string of victories in nearly all of the remaining states.
But the daunting path ahead didn’t keep Cruz from exclaiming “Hillary, get ready. Here we come” as he closed his speech.
That still seems unlikely, given the race after Wisconsin pivots to what has been friendly turf for Trump in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
However, it could be the beginning of Cruz’s march to deny Trump his own 1,237 delegates and wage a fight on the floor of the convention in Cleveland, arguing Trump is too disliked by general election voters to give him the nomination.
For Trump, the Wisconsin loss comes after what has roundly been described as his worst week of the campaign. The bad news kept piling up: First, his campaign manager was charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly manhandling a female reporter at a press conference. Then Trump created an unforced error of his own, badly bungling an answer on abortion by implying women should be “punished” for seeking illegal abortions. He later reversed himself and said the people performing the procedures should be punished, not the women who seek them. Then he appeared to say that Roe v. Wade should remain the law of the land, but clarified again, that it should only be that way until he is elected.
The string of slip-ups led Saturday Night Live! to quip Trump must be pro-choice after all, because when it comes to abortion positions, he’s made all the choices.
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