How experts believe the WI primary could affect the presidential - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Copy-How experts believe the WI primary could affect the presidential race

Posted: Updated:

WISCONSIN (WKOW)-- The list of campaign stops in Wisconsin this week continues to grow. It seems like here at 27 News, we're receiving an event invite from one of the five presidential candidates every few hours.

The April 5th primary is just over a week away and a long list of campaign stops can only mean one thing, it's going to be quite a show.

One might think a primary this late in the game won't mean much in the grand scheme of the race, but political experts believe the Wisconsin primary provides a unique opportunity for each candidate in the race.

UW-Madison Political Science Professor Barry Burden says the April 5th primary is sort of like the "All Star Break" in the presidential race. It separates two even halves of the primary circuit and comes at a time when no other primaries are going on.

"It has the potential to be a kind of pivot point," Burden says. "It was sitting there by itself on the calendar right in the middle."

The next full primary isn't until April 16th in New York. UW-Madison Political Communications Professor Mike Wagner says that open window of opportunity is what's grabbing the attention of all five candidates.

"It's a 'winner take all primary and there's not another like it for nearly a month on the Republican side. This is a big one, especially for Ted Cruz."

Wagner argues Cruz has the most to gain and the most to lose in this primary. It could be the defining moment that puts him neck in neck with Trump.

"If he could win this, it gives him two weeks where not much is happening and he can say, 'I just won purple state Wisconsin and that shows I'm the person to take on Hillary Clinton in November,"' Wagner says. "However, if he loses, Donald Trump's narrative of continuing to win rolls on."

Burden agrees, Cruz will be the focal point of this primary, because it's his opportunity to separate himself from John Kasich.

"Cruz is trying to make it a one-on-one race between he and Trump. Wisconsin might be the place where that happens," Burden explains. "If Kasich can't get much traction here, he's a Midwestern Governor, this might be a good state for him, then it really looks like it will be those candidates, Trump and Cruz that go on to the convention."

Not only do Republicans have a primary to win in Wisconsin, but they also have two prominent members of the party who have yet to endorse a presidential candidate.

Burden says all signs point to Governor Scott Walker announcing his endorsement some time this week. He says it's difficult to guess when an endorsement from House Speaker Paul Ryan will come, if ever. He says it's interesting to see him be so quiet on the topic, but it may be an attempt to keep his options open.

"He seems very reluctant to be called into the presidential race. He doesn't want to be a candidate. He said it ought to be someone who have actually been running this year, but he also said that about the speaker position when it was offered to him, that he wasn't interested," Burden says.

On the other side of the race, both Democrats are also in store for a contested race. Wagner believes Sanders has a narrow advantage and will likely win in the Wisconsin primary, but he doesn't think it will be enough to change the race this late in the game.

"A win in Wisconsin, that would certainly keep him in the game," Wagner says.

For a list of the upcoming campaign stops in Wisconsin featuring Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, click here.

For a list of stops featuring Donald Trump, John Kasich and Ted Cruz, click here.

Powered by Frankly