Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker endorses Ted Cruz ahead of key primary

Is it enough to beat Donald Trump?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination, dealing a potentially significant blow to Donald Trump in a key primary state.

Trump currently holds a slim 1.7-point lead over Cruz in Wisconsin. Walker’s endorsement could push Cruz over the edge when voters cast their ballots on Tuesday, April 5.

Wisconsin is key to the Republican establishment’s efforts to knock Trump out of the frontrunner position, with party leaders reportedly planning a 100-day campaign to prevent him from reaching the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination at the party’s convention in July.

Soon after Walker announced his endorsement of Cruz, Trump tweeted that he remains ahead of Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in both votes and delegates.

 Trump currently has 736 delegates compared to Cruz’s 463, according to an Associated Press tally. Kasich currently has 143 delegates.

Walker ended his own presidential bid in September after dropping in the polls while Trump continued his rise. In his exit speech, he said that he hoped to “clear the field … so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field.”

Club for Growth, a conservative political organization that helped derail a 2015 criminal investigation into the Walker campaign, is spending more than $1 million on anti-Trump campaign ads ahead of the Wisconsin primary. Our Principles PAC, a group founded solely to topple Trump, has also spent more than $800,000 in Wisconsin on ads designed to unseat him.

Walker remains a controversial leader in Wisconsin. He survived a 2012 recall election in the state after a heated fight with organized labor, but only 39 percent of Wisconsinites approve of his performance as governor, according to a February poll from Marquette Law School. 

In addition to anti-Trump efforts by Republican leaders and outside groups, Trump faces challenges from within his own campaign. On Tuesday, Police in Jupiter, Florida, charged his campaign manager with battery for grabbing a Breitbart reporter by the arm during an event.

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

Andrew Couts

Andrew Couts

Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.