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Bernie Sanders. (Photo: AP)

Sanders and Cruz win Kansas

05/03/2016
20:56
AP
Washington
-A +A
Cruz also won in Maine and Sanders took Nebraska.

Kansas went to the underdogs Saturday as Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Bernie Sanders tripped up the front-runners in the first prize of a five-state round of weekend voting for the presidential nominations, according to GOP caucus returns and Democratic officials who announced the results of their race.

Cruz also won in Maine on a night that offered little encouragement in initial results for Marco Rubio, considered the only other Republican capable of stopping Donald Trump. And Sanders took Nebraska, showing strength for his still-longshot campaign after recent setbacks.

Cruz and Sanders both benefited from a caucus system that requires organization from campaigns and commitment - if not passion - from voters. Even so, Trump and Hillary Clinton bid elsewhere to extend their delegate leads and maintain their march toward a head-to-head battle in the fall.

The Kansas Democratic Party announced Sanders as the winner but did not release any vote count or results. The Associated Press has not called the race in Kansas as it waits for those results. In 2008, Barack Obama scored a lopsided victory over Clinton in Kansas.

Because delegates are being awarded proportionally in the weekend races, Trump's GOP rivals and Clinton's sole opponent had limited opportunity to curb the drive of the front-runners. Larger contests ahead, with winner-take-all delegate prizes, afford more of that chance.

Cruz was collecting at least 17 delegates for winning Kansas, with Trump taking at least six. Maine Republicans said Cruz won 12 delegates in that state, with nine for Trump and six for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Rallying in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Cruz, a Texas senator, declared: "The scream you hear, the howl that comes from Washington D.C., is utter terror at what we the people are doing together."

Saturday's GOP races in Maine, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana and Democratic contests in Nebraska, Kansas and Louisiana were largely overshadowed by the Super Tuesday races dominated by Trump and Clinton.

But with Trump yet to win states by the margins he'll need to secure the nomination before the GOP convention, every one of the 155 GOP delegates at stake on Saturday was worth fighting for.

"Everyone's trying to figure out how to stop Trump," the billionaire marveled of himself during an Orlando, Florida, rally that was interrupted frequently by protesters. "It's sort of exciting, isn't it?" Trump asked of the demonstrators.

On Sunday, Maine Democrats and Puerto Rico Republicans are holding contests.

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