Ted Cruz's Utah Win Is Not A Big Deal

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas won two victories on Western Tuesday in low-population states that he was slated to do well in: He won 45.4 percent support in the Idaho primary to rival Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's 28.1 percent, and he won a crushing 69.2 percent support in Utah to Trump's 14 percent.  

It won't matter.  Despite losing in two out of the three contests on March 22, the winner of the delegate count from the three contests was Trump.

Trump trounced his two opponents and took 58 delegates in the winner-take-all state of Arizona. He won an additional 12 delegates from his second place finish in Idaho.  Cruz gained 40 delegates from his Utah win and 20 from his Idaho win, putting him 10 behind Trump's 70 gained during the three contests.

Cruz's Utah win is also less impressive than it may initially seem given the context of his victory.  Trump's hard-line anti-immigration position does not sit well with Utah's heavily Mormon population; the Mormon Church has spent years lobbying for immigration reform which emphasizes family unification over deportation, according to Vice News.

Knowing this, Trump devoted far less resources to Utah than he did to other states; he did not attempt to improve his popularity there.  Additionally, Cruz has gained the support of several prominent Utah politicians including Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, which certainly helped his performance there.

Cruz remains the only major GOP competitor to Trump during the primary season; Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio is reportedly staying in the race because he feels he has a better chance to do well in the northeast, Midwestern and West Coast contests in the following months, but his campaign is quickly running out of money.

Before winning his home state of Ohio, "he went 0-for-27” Cruz said of Kasich, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"At this point what he’s doing doesn’t make any sense unless he’s auditioning to be Trump’s vice president."

This means that Kasich would be unable to force a contested convention -- which many people think he is trying to do -- as he would need to have won 8 states to eligible.

Cruz's Utah win was mainly impressive for the margin of victory, but it will unfortunately not mean all that much for his campaign prospects.  Trump is projected to win in most if not all of the upcoming contests within the next month, which will give him further credibility in claiming that he is the only possible choice for the Republican nominee given his delegate lead and his repeated victories over his opponents.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: Vice News, The Dallas Morning News / Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons

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