Front-runners in the race to the White House, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton suffered a major setback at the Wisconsin primary.
Republican Ted Cruz defeated Trump to win the Wisconsin presidential primary raising the prospect of a prolonged nominating fight that could last until the July convention.
Cruz’s win was a breakthrough for Republican Party forces battling to block the controversial New York billionaire.
“I am more and more convinced that our campaign is going to earn the 1237 delegates needed to win the republican nomination. Either before Cleveland or at the convention in Cleveland, together we will win a majority of the delegates and together we will beat Hillary Clinton in November” Cruz said before the results were out.
Similarly, Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders defeated front-runner Hillary Clinton to win in Wisconsin. Sanders’ win has given his fight against the former First Lady a new boost.
“With our victory tonight in Wisconsin, we have now won seven out of eight of the last caucuses and primaries and we have won almost all of them with overwhelming landslide numbers” Cruz told supporters.
Trump had 737 convention delegates while Cruz had 481 while heading into the vote. Trump was only 500 delegates short of reaching the 1,237 figure needed to become the party’s nominee in the November 8 election.
Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich, the other remaining Republican contender, hope to stop Trump short of a first-ballot victory and trigger a contested convention.
In the Democratic race, Clinton led Sanders by 263 pledged delegates in the race for the 2,383 needed to be nominated at the party’s July convention in Philadelphia. She also has a big lead in superdelegates, who are party leaders free to back any candidate.
Sanders needs to win by big margins in the remaining states to close the gap. Sanders needs up to two-thirds of the remaining delegates to catch Clinton, who will keep accumulating delegates even when she loses under a Democratic Party system that awards them proportionally in all states.
He has vowed to stay in the race until the convention, and his campaign says superdelegates could begin to shift their support to him if they see he has popular support.
Clinton did not appear in public on Tuesday evening but tweeted to congratulate Sanders.
“Congrats to @BernieSanders on winning Wisconsin,” Clinton said on Twitter. “To all the voters and volunteers who poured your hearts into this campaign: Forward! -H.”
The race now moves to New York on April 19 and to five other eastern states on April 26.
(With inputs from agencies)