Over the past few election cycles, we usually knew who the nominee was by the end of March, this year it will likely go to the Convention in July, actually making Wisconsin relevant to the nominee selection for the first time in my voting life. What’s more, Wisconsin has a chance of throwing the whole selection process into complete chaos.
Donald Trump comes into Wisconsin with a comfortable delegate lead, but based on the most recent Marquette University Law School Poll, it looks like Ted Cruz has the momentum to win Wisconsin with a double digit lead. That being said, other polls have it neck and neck, making Wisconsin far from predictable.
Wisconsin’s primary is a turning point because it will either solidify Donald Trump as the frontrunner, or increase the chances of a Contested or Brokered convention in July.
Donald Trump only needs a little over half of the remaining delegates while Ted Cruz needs to win in excess of 80% so the chances of getting the coveted 1237 favor Trump. Wisconsin has 42 total delegates, of which 18 are winner-take-all and 24 that are divided up per Congressional district. Cruz would have to win the state and at least six Congressional districts to remain on pace, not likely since John Kasich is having delusions that he actually stands a chance. But that is a different subject.
Even though the Marquette poll has Cruz ahead, Wisconsin is usually a Purple State, which can present a problem for a solid ideological Conservative like Cruz. He is clearly getting overwhelming support from unanimously anti-Trump Conservative Talk Radio in SE Wisconsin. I have never seen this happen. It will be very telling to see if the Trump wave can beat this coordinated effort between local talk radio and the Republican leadership, or if their overt support for Cruz will carry the state. It will also be interesting to see who has more influence, national Conservative Talk Radio which is more pro-Trump, or local.
Also, let’s not forget the Republican leadership would rather have one of their own and that Reince Priebus and Speaker Ryan are both from SE Wisconsin. It is in their best interest to have Cruz win the state so they can force a floor nomination of candidate, ‘none of the above.’
It’s interesting to note that even though Wisconsin is the lone primary this Tuesday, the candidates are travelling to other states like Iowa in an effort to stack delegates in preparation for this fight. So clearly it is on everyone’s mind.
In the end, Wisconsin is must win for both leading candidates where losing here can cause the proverbial ‘fat lady’ to start warming up her voice for the Cruz campaign, or set the stage for a Convention floor fight by preventing Trump from getting the 1237 delegates.
Get the popcorn…