Ted Cruz Projected To Win Wisconsin Republican Primary The senator's win puts another speed bump in the way of front-runner Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders leads in early returns for the Democratic primary.

Ted Cruz Projected To Win Wisconsin Republican Primary

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

We are getting results from the latest presidential primaries. Republicans and Democrats in Wisconsin went to the polls today. Ted Cruz is the projected winner on the Republican side. Bernie Sanders has a lead on the Democratic side, but a winner has not been declared yet. Here to walk us through what's at stake tonight, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson is back in the studio. Hi, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: What does Cruz's win tonight in Wisconsin mean on the Republican side?

LIASSON: Well, it means that another pretty large speed bump has been put in put in the path of Donald Trump. And this was an unusual state. The conservative establishment in the state was very strongly against Trump. You had the governor of the state who had been in the presidential race dropped out, endorsed Cruz. Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, who's a revered figure in Wisconsin, didn't endorse everyone, but he'd been critical of Trump.

Then you had this group of conservative talk show hosts who are also against Trump. And this is a state filled with intensely engaged conservative voters because they're battle hardened. They've been through a lot. They've been through recalls for the governor, state Supreme Court races - so very highly informed, engaged group, and they believe - the Stop Trump people believe that this was their last good chance to deny Trump the ability to get to 1,237 delegates in the first ballot on the convention.

It looks it's going to be much, much harder for him to do that. If he gets no delegates at all in Wisconsin - and we don't know yet about the delegate allocation - he would have to get 56 percent of the remaining delegates to get to 1,237 before July.

SHAPIRO: You named a few Wisconsin-specific things, from Paul Ryan to Scott Walker to the talk radio. So how much of this is about Wisconsin, and how much of this is about a general Stop Trump movement having an impact?

LIASSON: Well, that is a really good question. And a lot is going to depend on what Donald Trump - what percentage of the vote Donald Trump gets because there was an interesting analysis done in The New York Times today that said Wisconsin is an unusual state. It's not the same as Ohio or Michigan or another Rust Belt state. It's actually more highly educated. And the demographics don't favor Donald Trump the way that other states have and the way that the states coming up - New York, Pennsylvania, you know, Connecticut, California - do.

And this analysis suggested that if he got around 35 percent of the vote or above, it would just be demographics that did him in, not that his momentum was dissipating. But if he got below 35 percent, then maybe something bigger is happening...

SHAPIRO: On the...

LIASSON: ...Because their projections suggested that he should get 35 percent of the vote in Wisconsin.

SHAPIRO: On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has been doing well in recent states and appears to be doing well again tonight in Wisconsin. What does this mean for his campaign?

LIASSON: If he wins tonight, he will have won 6 of the last 7 states. He is going to get a lot of momentum. That means a lot of cash for Bernie Sanders. He usually raises millions of dollars off of these wins. But because the Democrats distribute their delegates proportionately, not winner-take-all, she is going to end up coming out of Wisconsin with delegates.

And it's possible, though we don't know the final numbers - it's possible that he could be further behind her in the delegate count after tonight even if he wins Wisconsin. We don't know that yet. But their campaign - the Sanders campaign is saying, no - we - nobody is going to have a majority of delegates by the convention. It's going to be a contested convention. And...

SHAPIRO: They're crying contested convention as well.

LIASSON: That's what they're saying. And I think it's a very smart - in terms of spin, I think it's brilliant. You want people to think that, of course, he could end up being the nominee. You get the complete opposite message from the Clinton campaign - not possible for Bernie to catch up.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Mara Liasson, thanks, as always.

LIASSON: Thank you.

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