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Needing Wins to Catch Up, Cruz and Sanders Take Wisconsin Primaries

  • Chris Hannas

Wisconsin voters cast their ballots in the state's primary at the South Shore Park Pavilion, in Milwaukee, April 5, 2016.

Wisconsin voters cast their ballots in the state's primary at the South Shore Park Pavilion, in Milwaukee, April 5, 2016.

Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Bernie Sanders trail in the overall race to be their party's nominee for president, but each scored an important primary victory Tuesday in the northern state of Wisconsin.

Cruz defeated Donald Trump 48 percent to 35 percent, and called the victory a "turning point" and "rallying cry" to America. The Texas senator also turned his attention to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, boasting that he will win not only the Republican nomination but also the November general election.

"So let me just say, Hillary, get ready. Here we come," Cruz said.​

Watch video report from VOA's Jim Malone:

Trump gave no public comments Tuesday night, but his campaign issued a statement harshly attacking Cruz as being propelled by those who seek only to keep Trump from being nominated at the party convention in Cleveland in July.

"Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet -- he is a Trojan horse being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump," read the statement.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a campaign event in Green Bay, Wisconsin, April 3, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a campaign event in Green Bay, Wisconsin, April 3, 2016.

Heading into Wisconsin, Trump had 737 delegates to Cruz's 475, with Ohio Governor John Kasich trailing with 143. Cruz won almost all of Wisconsin's 42 delegates, increasing the chances that Trump will be unable to secure the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the convention.

Sanders, a senator from Vermont, beat Clinton with 56 percent of the vote in Wisconsin. He has now won six out of the last seven states and he told supporters in Wyoming, which holds its caucus on Saturday, that his campaign has momentum.

"With your help on Saturday, we are going to win here in Wyoming. And then we are headed to New York," Sanders said. "Now please keep this a secret; do not tell Secretary Clinton, she's getting a little nervous and I don't want to get her more nervous. But I believe we have an excellent chance to win New York and a lot of delegates in that state."

Clinton also did not make a speech after Wisconsin's vote. She posted on Twitter congratulating Sanders on his win and told her supporters, "Forward!"

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont addresses the crowd at a campaign rally at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, April 2, 2016.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont addresses the crowd at a campaign rally at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, April 2, 2016.

Clinton has a large delegate lead, especially when adding in the so-called super delegates who have pledged to support her, but are free to change their mind later.

Democratic contests award delegates proportionately, so Sanders needs to not only beat Clinton in future states, but also to do so by a large margin in order to make up ground. He has vowed to stay in the race until the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, also held in July.

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