Wisconsin’s Time in the Campaign Spotlight

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.35.29 AMMAGGIE HABERMAN

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Good Tuesday morning.

Wisconsin is upon us.

The twin primaries in the state have the potential to further muddle the Democratic and Republican presidential races. For Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a win would further fuel his desire to keep the race going, particularly after he outraised Hillary Clinton by roughly $15 million in March.

For Donald J. Trump, a loss to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas seems likely, but there are degrees of defeat. He could score wins in some congressional districts, and fend off a bad storyline about getting trounced in the state pivotal to those trying to stop him. And Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio has done his best to stay in the fight.

The contests on both sides have become increasingly nasty. On Wednesday, the focus for both races will move to New York, the home state of Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, the birth state of Mr. Sanders, and where the Democrats have agreed to a debate on April 14.  For Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, who have seemed weary at times, the break from long flights might be welcome.

Mr. Cruz will most likely take a victory in Wisconsin and use it to press the case to on-the-fence donors that it is time to support him. Mrs. Clinton, should she win, would use the victory to again highlight Mr. Sanders’s difficult mathematical climb, a case that is harder for her to make when he wins.

What We’re Watching Today

Mr. Sanders has a rally in Wyoming. On Saturday, the state will hold its caucuses, contests in which he has fared far better than Mrs. Clinton, and put 18 delegates in play. Mrs. Clinton will continue to campaign in New York City, holding a “Women for Hillary” town-hall-style event in Brooklyn with Representative Yvette D. Clarke and Chirlane McCray, the wife of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
As Wisconsin votes, Mr. Cruz will spend the day there, holding a watch party in Milwaukee in the evening.
Judge Merrick B. Garland, President Obama’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, is scheduled to meet with two Republican senators, John Boozman of Arkansas and Susan Collins of Maine.
Senator Ted Cruz and his wife, Heidi, on Monday at the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha, Wis. Mr. Cruz has begun airing ads in Wisconsin attacking his rival Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.

Eric Thayer for The New York Times

As Mr. Cruz looks beyond Wisconsin, where he is favored to win on Tuesday, his frustrations with the Ohio governor have increasingly been laid bare.

Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, on stage at the Milwaukee Theatre on Monday night for his final rally in Wisconsin, before the state’s primary on Tuesday.

Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Melania Trump, a reluctant campaigner thus far, will take a greater role as her husband’s missteps have hurt his standing among women.

Charlie Sykes, a conservative talk radio host in Milwaukee, has been criticizing Donald J. Trump, charging that Mr. Trump had violated Wisconsin’s “tradition of civility and decency” in politics.

Eric Thayer for The New York Times

The state’s top conservative radio commentators have rejected Mr. Trump, who is trailing Senator Ted Cruz in polls in part thanks to their efforts.

Hillary Clinton last week in Purchase, N.Y.

Eric Thayer for The New York Times

The state’s highly engaged voters will determine whether the front-runners lose any ground on Tuesday, and how much.