Wisconsin voters reject presidential front-runners

Political Beat


Wisconsin voters dealt a blow to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the leaders in the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries, instead favoring Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders.

Cruz, the Republican U.S. senator from Texas, beat billionaire businessman Trump 48.2 percent to 35.1 percent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich received 14.1 percent of the vote. Cruz gained 36 delegates in Wisconsin, while Trump gained just six.


Sanders, the Vermont U.S. senator, beat former secretary of state Clinton 56.6 percent to 43.1 percent. Sanders gained 47 delegates and Clinton gained 36.

Cruz attracted conservative Republican voters, including many that opposed Trump’s campaign. He benefitted from the support of conservative talk radio and from the endorsement of Gov. Scott Walker, who remains popular with Wisconsin conservatives and was criticized by Trump.

On the Democratic side, Milwaukee County was the only one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties won by Clinton. In Dane County, Sanders received 62.6 percent of the Democratic vote.

Sanders has now won six out of the last seven contests but Clinton still leads the delegate count, 1,748 to 1,058. But Clinton’s total includes 469 superdelegates (Sanders has 31) who could switch their vote.

Trump leads Cruz 743 delegates to 517. The Wisconsin results will make it harder for Trump to get the 1,237 delegate total to secure the nomination. If he fails to do so, delegates at the Cleveland GOP convention in July could switch their vote if Trump fails to win on the first ballot at the convention.

The strong turnout in Wisconsin for the Republican primary gave a boost to conservative Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, who was elected over Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg, who lost her second bid for the state’s highest court.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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