After resoundingly winning Wisconsin primaries according to near final tallies, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) estimated that a "turning point" has been reached in his race against real estate mogul Donald Trump.
With 96% of the votes counted, Cruz had won 48.5% of the vote as opposed to 34.9% for Trump, according to Fox News. On the Democratic side with 98% of the votes counted, Bernie Sanders outpaced Hillary Clinton 56.3% to 43.4% in a key victory for Sanders.
"Tonight is a turning point," Cruz announced at a victory rally held in Milwaukee.
"I am more and more convinced that our campaign is going to win the 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination. Either before Cleveland or at Cleveland…we will win a majority of the delegates."
According to Cruz his campaign has led to "the full spectrum of the Republican Party coming together and uniting," and appraising his chances of taking the Republican race, he added, "Hillary, get ready, here we come."
With the Wisconsin results, Trump still remains ahead in the race for 1,237 delegates needed to get the nomination, but Cruz is closing in and may be able to block Trump from gaining the needed amount. According to a CNN estimate, Trump stands at 743 delegates, Cruz has 507, and Ohio Governor John Kasich has 145.
Trump was less than magnanimous in taking the news of his defeat in Wisconsin, which came following a week of gaffes. Instead of holding a news conference as is his custom after elections, he issued a statement attacking Cruz.
"Lyin' Ted Cruz had the Governor of Wisconsin, many conservative talk radio show hosts, and the entire party apparatus behind him," said Trump. "Not only was he propelled by the anti-Trump Super PAC's spending countless millions of dollars on false advertising against Mr. Trump, but he was coordinating with his own Super PAC's (which is illegal) who totally control him."
There has been no evidence that Cruz and his super PAC coordinated on advertising, notes CNN.
"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," added Trump's statement.
While Cruz may be hard pressed to get the needed 1,237 delegates before voting ends in late April, in light of the Wisconsin victory Cruz is better situated to prevent Trump from reaching the number of delegates.
If that happens, the Republican Party would hold an open convention to pick the GOP candidate in July, marking the first such convention in four decades.