Cruz, Sanders win big in Wisconsin
Judging by prevote polls, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders beat expectations Tuesday in the midwestern state of Wisconsin, where they each scored expected wins but with wider margins.
However, political analysts say those overachievements do not mean people should rush to bet on them to win the next states or their party nominations.
“It’s been pretty common in this process for the race just to change from state to state. Momentum hasn’t always helped,” said Craig Gilbert, the Washington bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Sanders spoke of momentum to his supporters Tuesday night, after having won six of the last seven state contests. But despite that success, he still trails far behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in terms of Democratic delegates.
Cruz is closer, but in a similar position behind Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
“I think Wisconsin’s impact is that it prolongs the race,” Gilbert told VOA. “Had the front-runners won here, it was an opportunity for them to really put their opponents away. It was a difficult state for them, but it was a chance for them to really put a nail in the coffin of the other candidates and they didn’t do that.”
Instead, Cruz took almost all of Wisconsin’s 42 delegates, making it more difficult for Trump to amass a majority of delegates and avoid an open Republican convention where the nominee could be anyone’s guess.
Trump blasted Cruz in a statement after the vote, saying conservative radio hosts and “the entire party apparatus” backed Cruz in a bid to “steal the nomination” from Trump.
Gilbert said Wisconsin became the place where a candidate began to consolidate support after the once-large Republican field narrowed, and the support went to Cruz.
“The governor got behind him, conservative activists, conservative media, a lot of Republican politicians lined up behind him in this race partly just because they saw him as a vehicle to stop Trump, and he took advantage of that,” Gilbert said.
Because the two parties have different rules when it comes to awarding delegates, Sanders is in a much more difficult situation than Cruz.
Democrats use a proportional system, meaning Sanders has to beat Clinton by wide margins in lots of states to catch up.