BOSTON (CBS) – “We could have a big surprise tonight folks,” Donald Trump was saying as he wrapped up his Wisconsin primary campaign.
But the only surprise was how badly most polls underestimated the size of Ted Cruz’s victory. And while the voting now moves to states deemed more friendly to Trump, like New York, it’s worth remembering that seven weeks ago, Trump led in Wisconsin by double digits.READ MORE: Traffic Alert: 'Major Delays' Expected On I-495 South After Truck Spills Gravel In Andover
It’s hard to believe it was out of embarrassment, but Trump eschewed his usual primary-night press conference, simply issuing a statement hurling invective at Cruz. That left Cruz to define the outcome as he pleased: “A turning point…a rallying cry, a call from the hardworking men and women of Wisconsin to America that you have a choice, a real choice.”
Unsurprisingly, Cruz telegraphed his strategy going forward by repeatedly embracing his wife, Heidi, who Trump has unwisely maligned, and gearing some of his victory speech toward women, who polls show have turned against Trump in vast numbers.READ MORE: Endangered Sea Turtle Recovering After Surgery To Remove 7-Foot-Long Balloon Ribbon
But Cruz did have some hostile words for one woman – Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who’s looking ever-shakier as she dropped her sixth straight contest to Bernie Sanders.
Like Trump, Clinton declined to appear in public to acknowledge her Wisconsin defeat. She was home in suburban New York City, gearing up for a two-week sprint to the New York primary that will determine whether the Sanders threat fizzles or grows.
One fly in the punchbowl for Sanders — this is the last big state to allow independent voters – a key factor in his success – to participate. As for Trump, he now must win about 60 percent of the remaining up-for-grabs delegates to win a first-ballot nomination at the convention in Cleveland this summer.MORE NEWS: Rare Steller's Sea Eagle Seen In Maine, Wowing Birders, Might Stay A Bit
It is extremely unusual for the two party frontrunners to suffer decisive defeats this late in the process. Along with solid endorsements of the winners, Wisconsin voters sent a message to both Clinton and Trump that must be giving them a chill – the more we’ve gotten to know you, the less impressed we are.