Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton head into crucial presidential primary in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin as underdogs, opinion polls show.
The two frontrunners for their respective parties have been campaigning rigorously to stave off losses in the Badger State which would give their opponents fresh bursts of momentum in the race to the White House.
Public polling in the last two weeks has shown Senator Ted Cruz of Texas ahead of Trump in Wisconsin, where a loss on Tuesday would make it harder for the bombastic billionaire to secure the 1,237 delegates necessary for the party’s nomination.
A victory in Wisconsin, however, will propel Trump very close to the GOP nomination.
“If we do well here, folks, it’s over,” the celebrity businessman said at a campaign rally on Monday. “This could be the real beginning. If it’s not, I think we get there anyway, and I’m pretty sure we get there anyway.”
Trump said an array of forces were aligned against him in Wisconsin, including Governor Scott Walker, who has endorsed Cruz, and a “very hostile media.”
The real estate mogul also warned of the possibility that Republican leaders would maneuver to deny him the nomination at the GOP convention in July.
“My eyes are wide open,” he said. “We’re dealing with a corrupt system. We’re dealing with a system that is not fair.”
Trump said over the weekend that he would not rule out running as a third-party candidate if the GOP establishment treats him unfairly at the convention.
On the Democratic side, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is leading Clinton by a small margin in Wisconsin and is trying to build up on his momentum after winning five of the last six contests.
Sanders has said his recent string of victories shows he can not only win the Democratic nomination, but also succeed in the general presidential election against the Republican nominee.