Ted Cruz scores 2 surprising wins against Donald Trump

Ted cruzJ Pat Carter/Getty ImagesTed Cruz campaigning in Kansas.

Ted Cruz notched another two victories on Saturday against GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

A swath of news outlets projected early Saturday evening that Cruz would win the Kansas Republican caucuses.

A couple hours later, the Maine Republican Party announced that Cruz was the victor in its caucuses.

Though a lack of reliable public polling made both contests difficult to handicap, Trump was expected to perform well in both places.

Trump campaigned in Wichita, Kansas, on Saturday morning, and a relatively recent poll of the state found that Trump had a small lead over Cruz.

In Maine, Trump had the prominent endorsement from Gov. Paul LePage. Additionally, Trump scored an easy win in neighbouring New Hampshire and dominated in nearby Massachusetts.

Part of Cruz’s success on Saturday could be due to the Maine and Kansas’ caucus format, which require voters to show up at a specific time and stay longer than traditional primary elections. Cruz previously defeated Trump in the Iowa and Alaska caucuses.

This weekend’s two Cruz wins boost Cruz’s argument that he, not fellow Sen. Marco Rubio, is the leading non-Trump candidate in the primary race. Cruz has also beaten Trump in Oklahoma and his home state of Texas, while Rubio has only won the Minnesota caucuses.

At a Saturday-evening campaign rally in Idaho, Ted Cruz made an appeal to voters backing Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, reiterating that he was the only candidate who has repeatedly beaten Trump.

“Our campaign is the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump over and over and over again — and that will beat Donald Trump over and over and over again,” Cruz said.

Earlier in the day, Cruz also won a straw poll at CPAC, the prominent conservative conference that Trump snubbed in order to campaign in Kansas.

Results from the Kentucky caucuses and the Louisiana primary will also be announced Saturday.

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