Ted Cruz Floors Donald Trump In Wisconsin

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Ted Cruz scored a decisive victory in Wisconsin on Tuesday, defeating Donald Trump and seizing most of the state’s 42 delegates in a win that boosted the odds of a historic contested convention this summer.

Cruz’s margin of victory was large enough that three television networks called the contest soon after the polls closed. With 70 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press showed Cruz with roughly 50 percent of the vote, compared to just over 32 percent for Trump. John Kasich lagged far behind with about 14 percent. Cruz crushed Trump in the heavily GOP Milwaukee suburbs, leading Waukesha County by nearly 40 percentage points, with nearly 90 percent of the vote counted there.

The loss for Trump marked only the second time in the nominating contest — and the first since Iowa — that the Manhattan businessman suffered an election day without winning a state.

In an upbeat victory speech in Milwaukee, Cruz hailed the result as “a turning point” in the 2016 campaign that would cascade across the remaining states.

Cruz’s Wisconsin win was thorough. Exit polls showed him winning Republicans of every age, every level of education, and every level of income. His strongest base was “very conservative” voters, which Cruz carried with nearly two-thirds of the vote.

As significantly for the states to follow, Cruz turned in his strongest performance to date among non-evangelicals, at least among states that had exit polls, beating Trump in that group 43 percent to 35 percent.

“Wisconsin,” Cruz said, “has lit a candle guiding the way forward.”

Whether that’s true won’t be clear until the coming weeks, but what was clear Tuesday is that Cruz had handed Trump his most consequential defeat since the Iowa caucuses and made the frontrunner’s path to the 1,237 delegates he needs even steeper. Trump now must win nearly 70 percent of the remaining delegates to avert a convention floor fight that he has already said could cause “riots.”

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