MILWAUKEE (UPI) — Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz was greeted with a standing ovation at a Milwaukee County GOP event Saturday and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was standing in for front-runner Donald Trump, was met with steely silence three days ahead of the state’s crucial primary vote.

The Milwaukee County Republican Party Fish Fry proved fertile campaign ground for Cruz, who has become the vehicle for many establishment figures in their quest to deny Trump the party’s nomination. Cruz used the event to make his first appearance with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose endorsement he earned earlier this week.

The two men embraced on stage before Cruz made a speech wherein he mocked Trump. Cruz said calling Trump a “train wreck” then joking, it would actually be an insult to trains.

After Cruz spoke, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who campaigned with Trump earlier in the day in Racine, took the stage and found the same audience in a far less accepting mood. At one point, her speech went 16 minutes while the crowd sat silent refusing to applaud.

Polls have shown Cruz with a double-digit lead in the Badger State. If Cruz is to continue his long shot presidential campaign, he badly needs to win big in Wisconsin. The next state on the primary calendar is Trump’s home, New York. Polls there show Trump with a large lead over Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

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