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A Bad Day for the Front-Runners

Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders win the Wisconsin primaries.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton suffered big blows to their campaigns on Tuesday when they failed to win the Wisconsin primaries. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won for the Republicans, while Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont won the Democratic primary.

It was the sixth straight victory for Sanders, who won 56 percent of the vote compared with Clinton’s 43 percent. Sanders told supporters that his win shows his campaign is gaining momentum.

"With our victory tonight in Wisconsin, we have now won seven out of eight of the last caucuses and primaries,” Sanders said in his victory speech. “And we have won almost all of them with overwhelming landslide numbers.”

Still, Clinton maintains a fairly comfortable lead in the race for the 2,383 delegates (members of a political party who will nominate the party’s official candidate at their convention this summer) needed to secure the Democratic nomination. She now has 1,279 delegates, while Sanders has 1,027.

A Turning Point?

Tuesday’s loss was more damaging for Trump, who is now less likely to get the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination. Cruz won 48 percent of the vote in Wisconsin, netting him 33 of the state’s delegates. Trump won 35 percent of the vote and got only three delegates. Cruz’s total now stands at just over 500 delegates and Trump’s is about 740.

This means the Republican National Convention in July could be a contested convention, in which delegates can change their votes. And that could be bad news for Trump.

“Tonight is a turning point,” Cruz told supporters after his victory. “I am more and more convinced that our campaign is going to win . . . the Republican nomination.”
      
Moving Onward

Clinton and Sanders are now looking ahead to the Wyoming Democratic caucus on April 9. The election will then move to delegate-rich New York on April 19, where 291 delegates will be up for grabs for the Democrats and 95 delegates for the Republicans. Clinton and Trump are favored to win in New York.

A third Republican candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich, remains in the race despite being in a distant third place. He won only 14 percent of the vote—and no delegates—in Wisconsin. Both Trump and Cruz are calling for Kasich to drop out of the race.