Texas Sen. Tex Cruz has won the Republican Kansas caucus vote in a big way:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won the Kansas Republican caucus on Saturday with a margin of more than 20 percentage points, strengthening his pitch that he’s the only viable GOP challenger to front-runner Donald Trump for the party’s presidential nomination.
Cruz, who won neighboring Oklahoma on Super Tuesday, was positioned to win Kansas because his campaign manager is from nearby Missouri and he appeals to the state’s evangelical population, The Kansas City Star reported.
Cruz on Tuesday called for Republicans to unify behind him because he had the best chance of beating Trump.
The Kansas GOP only allowed Republicans registered to vote by Feb. 4 to participate in caucuses.
The Republican race so far has been dominated by Trump, who has won most of the nominating contests. After big victories on Super Tuesday, Trump sounded more like he was running in a general election, describing himself as a “unifier” and attacking Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The conservative blog Red State’s (which is no fan of Trump’s) Moe Lane writes:
Not a single, blessed thing. AoSHQDD has called the race for Ted Cruz, with Donald Trump in second, and Marco Rubio in third. I didn’t give the numbers yet because they’re unexpected: Cruz at this point is hovering around having a popular vote majority in Kansas, and nobody wants to forecast that will stick around. The delegate rules indicate that Trump and Rubio, but NOT John Kasich, will pick up delegates here.
The win isn’t the surprising thing: the polling in this state, like most states lately, was seriously lagging events, and goodness knows that Donald Trump has been repeatedly punching his own campaign in the groin for the last two weeks nonstop. What is surprising is the margin. The margin is pretty impressive. The margin suggests that neither Ted Cruz nor Marco Rubio* wasted their time over the last two weeks.
NOTE: Due to logistics, TMV may carry some election results towards the end of the day.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.