Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are riding high after their respective wins in the Wisconsin Democratic and Republican presidential primaries Tuesday night. Each has been trailing his party's leading candidates, and Wisconsin delivered decisive blows that showed the two senators are still formidable opponents for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
But now that Wisconsin is over, there are few contests in the next two weeks before big, delegate-rich New York votes April 19. Between now and then, Democrats in Wyoming will caucus on Saturday and Republicans in Colorado will hold a state convention Friday.
New York, though, is the main prize ahead. It offers up a whopping 291 delegates for Democrats and 95 delegates for Republicans, one of the largest delegations in either party.
For both Sanders and Cruz, New York will present a challenge as they compete in territory that is very friendly to Clinton and Trump. While Sanders was born and grew up in Brooklyn, it’s been half a century since he lived in the state where Clinton much more recently served as senator.
New York is also the home of the GOP’s bombastic billionaire front-runner, and the city not only features Trump’s name on a variety of buildings, but it's also where he’s made many of the "great deals" he touts. Cruz, on the other hand, denounced Trump for his “New York values” earlier in the primary season, and the Texas senator’s brand of fiery right-wing evangelicalism is unlikely to win many hearts in the Empire State.
Despite losing in Wisconsin, Trump has maintained his significant lead in New York polling even as he suffered through a series of gaffes over the past few weeks related to his treatment of women. Trump holds an average of 53.3 percent support in New York, according to Real Clear Politics. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is more moderate than Cruz, was in second place this week with an average of 21.3 percent while Cruz held an average of 19 percent.
The Democratic race in New York is expected to be much closer, though Clinton held an average of 53.5 percent support in New York polls conducted before the Wisconsin primary, according to Real Clear Politics. Sanders held an average of 42.5 percent in the state, and his campaign has said it hopes the Vermont senator will be able to make the primary there a close contest.
This is the first year in a long time that the New York primary holds real importance, as the primary season is often much closer to wrapping up by this point. With a two-week window, the candidates are sure to spend a good amount of time campaigning across the state and trying to win over its voters.
After New York, a slew of mid-sized states will hold primaries, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The largest prize in that group will be Pennsylvania, where Kasich — born in the western part of the state — is hoping to do well, but also where Trump and Clinton lead their respective races, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
For now, as candidates head out on the trail, Trump holds onto his delegate lead with 739 delegates of the 1,237 needed to win, while Cruz has 502 and Kasich holds just 143. Clinton has 1,274 delegates and Sanders has 1,025 of the 2,383 needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.